Comprised of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas (lead vocals and drums), cousin Barry Knox (bass) and their best friend Josh McSwain (lead guitar), Parmalee are the quintessential American Country band. Named after the small town where the band started, Parmele, N.C. (population 278), the chart-topping quartet pays to tribute their humble Carolina upbringings with their name and their sound. Raised on a diet of Southern rock, Country, and blues, they formed in 2001 as a bunch of small-town boys chasing wild weekend nights, but their talents eventually took them beyond the little cement block barn they rehearsed in and onto Country music’s biggest stages, not to mention the top of Billboard’s Country chart.
The band’s blue-collar persistence made their 2013 breakout single, “Carolina,” into a Platinum-certified #1 hit, while their debut album landed in the Top 10. Two more singles (“Close Your Eyes” and “Already Callin’ You Mine”) rose to #3 and #10 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, all while they kept their noses to the grindstone, touring hundreds of dates a year. Awards nominations from the Academy of Country Music and Teen Choice Awards came rolling in, and headlining tours were launched but the hard-working virtues of their upbringing stand tall.
Both singles from their sophomore album 27861, “Roots” and “Sunday Morning”, enjoyed chart time on Billboard’s Top 40 Country Airplay chart and have seen more than 30 million combined streams on Spotify. The band has an impressive 6 singles that have landed Top 40 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Now, more than ever, Parmalee exudes the rambunctious spirit that built the foundation of their music. The band brings that same fire with them on stage every night, delivering high-energy shows to enthusiastic fans clapping and singing along, wrapped up in rafter-shaking abandon. Eyeing the crowds’ response, one thing is very clear—Parmalee knows a thing or two about having a good time.
“We love bringing people together for a good time and we hope they’ll clap, sing along, and raise one up— that’s what our live show is all about,” Matt says with a grin. “And we are incredibly thankful for every night that we get to be on stage sharing our music.”
The band is no stranger to a little creative wording as well. After decades of friendship and endless days spent on a bus together, the four guys nearly have a language of their own. They’ve even begun sharing some of their original vocabulary with fans through a hilarious video series called “Parmalisms,” which shows off their fun-loving nature and routinely leaves their 580,000+ fans in stitches. “Parmalisms” recently celebrated its 100th Episode.
“Seeing people smile, laugh and enjoy themselves because of something you’ve done is a great feeling,” said Barry as Scott added, “Sharing that joy and making people have fun makes all those rougher days worth it.”
The road to success wasn’t easy for the band. They have come a long way since their modest beginnings, working odd jobs like logging forests, construction, and any other type of manual labor to make ends meet. They’ve also had a few setbacks— in 2010, two men attempted to rob the band at gunpoint after a show, which led to Scott being hospitalized for 35 days, 10 of which he spent in a coma, for multiple gun shot wounds. Despite a five percent chance of survival, he miraculously pulled through and the band went on to secure a record deal just four months later.
No matter the obstacle, the foursome never wavered. Their tenacious work ethic, small-town values and love for each other has allowed them to persevere, grow stronger and rise to where they are today. At heart, they’re still the fun-loving Carolina boys with the same adventurous spirit they left home with on the road to Nashville and beyond.