Parachute

Parachute took root in the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, where the group honed its mix of pop/rock, funk, and contemporary blue-eyed soul under their original name Sparky's Flaw. Formed by high school students Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums), Christopher "Kit" French (saxophone, keyboards), Alex Hargrave (bass), and Nate McFarland (guitar), Sparky's Flaw generated a healthy buzz around town and eventually became popular at the nearby University of Virginia, where they opened for Robert Randolph. After gaining more popularity with an independently released EP, 2005's One Small Step, the band partnered with Red Light Management and later signed with Smash Records, an imprint of the recently revived Mercury Records.

Before entering their final year at the University of Virginia, Sparky's Flaw released a self-titled EP in August 2007 and began laying the groundwork for a full-length album. Several months later, the band adopted a new name -- Parachute -- and contributed a song to the national TV campaign for Nivea. Losing Sleep appeared in May 2009, marking Parachute's major-label debut and peaking at number 40 on the Billboard charts. The band opened for Kelly Clarkson that fall and appeared on the Internet broadcast Live at Daryl's House with Daryl Hall. More touring took place the following year, including additional dates with Clarkson and a headlining run with British songwriter Joe Brooks. Parachute began including newer songs in their set lists and eventually returned to the studio to record their sophomore effort, 2011's The Way It Was. Their third LP, 2013's Overnight, pushed the band further into the pop realm and subsequently became their highest-charting effort, reaching number 15 on Billboard's Top 200. Prior to the band's next album, bassist Hargrave and guitarist McFarland departed, slimming Parachute down to a trio. The remaining members worked with longtime producer John Fields to complete sessions for their fourth LP, Wide Awake, which was released in early 2016. ~ Andrew Leahey

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