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Parmalee is a tight-knit Southern country-rock band who also dip their toes into pop and hip-hop sounds. Hailing from North Carolina, Parmalee deal with the familiar themes of love, hometown loyalty, and good times with tunes that have a big heartland sound and memorable choruses. The group recorded and toured steadily in the 2000s, but it was the 2013 album Feels Like Carolina that finally brought them to the attention of a national audience with the singles "Carolina," "Close Your Eyes," and "Already Callin' You Mine." 27861, their follow-up album, also fared well with fans and critics, while their 2020 single "Just the Way," a collaboration with country rapper Blanco Brown, made an impact on the country singles charts.
Parmalee consists of brothers Matt Thomas (guitar, vocals) and Scott Thomas (drums), cousin Barry Knox (bass), and childhood friend Josh McSwain (guitar, keyboards), all of whom grew up together near Greenville, North Carolina. The brothers' father had a local band, and by the time they were teenagers, they were a part of it, gigging as Jerry Thomas & the Thomas Brothers Band, and Knox was recruited aboard as well. When the elder Thomas retired from playing, the brothers and cousin continued as the Thomas Brothers Band, working the local bar circuit, where they often crossed paths with guitarist, keyboardist, and longtime friend McSwain, who was in a successful cover band at the time. McSwain sat in with the Thomas Brothers Band one night in 2001 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rechristened Parmalee, the band meshed bluegrass, traditional country, Southern rock, and blues into a crisp, professional country-rock sound, spurred by solid songwriting and the fact that each member was a multi-instrumentalist. An EP, Daylight, appeared in 2002, followed by a full-length, Inside, in 2004. A second EP, Complicated, arrived in 2008. The band next signed with Stoney Creek Records and released a pair of singles, "Musta Had a Good Time" in 2012 and "Carolina" in 2013. "Carolina" turned into a platinum hit, topping Billboard's Country Airplay chart prior to the release of the full-length Feels Like Carolina at the end of 2013. "Close Your Eyes," which went to four on the Country Airplay chart, kept the record on the charts through 2014, and the album closed out its cycle in early 2015 with "Already Callin' You Mine." Parmalee returned with new material in 2016, releasing the single "Roots." In the summer of 2017, they released "Sunday Morning," which was the second single from their sophomore album, 27861. While the album didn't sell as well as Feels Like Carolina, it managed to appear on the Country Albums charts at number 22 and the Top 200 albums charts at 146. In 2019, Parmalee once again made a splash with the single "Just the Way," an upbeat love song featuring guest vocals from rapper Blanco Brown. The song peaked at number 31 on the Country Singles charts, and was played 14 million times on major streaming services. ~ Steve Leggett