‘Catch of the Day’ – Parmalee – “Roots” [VIDEO]
Today's feature focuses on a band from North Carolina, who no matter how successful they may become, how many number 1 hits or platinum albums they receive, will never forget where they came from. Mostly because the band shares it name with the small town they were all raised in.
Parmele, NC is a small town about an hour east of Raleigh-Durham, whose population in the 2010 census was 278, and is 1.2 square miles in size. At its peak during the 1980 census, the Martin County town had 484 residents. "Downtown" Parmele is a gas station, two flashing yellow lights and a small, tin-roofed barn dubbed "Studio B". And the town's pride and joy? Brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, their cousin Barry Knox and their childhood friend Josh McSwain, who make up the band Parmalee.
The Thomas brothers got their musical start playing with their father Jerry in the family's band. When Jerry retired from music, the brothers knew they wanted to keep their music going, so they brought in their cousin Barry and best friend Josh and Parmalee was born. The band quickly drew the attention of RCA Records and were offered a three song tryout at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey. The audition led to the groups first publishing deal, with Windswept Publishing.
But Parmalee's journey was a lot longer than that of the almost 500 miles they traveled up highway 295 to that audition. From the Tuesday and Thursday practice sessions in that little barn, to the days and weeks they spent on the road traveling the country building a following that captured RCA's attention, to a rainy September night in Rock Hill, SC when the band was approached on their bus after a show by two men with guns.
The two men forced their way onto the bus, demanding money. Scott Thomas came from the back of the bus with his own gun and told the two men to leave. One of the suspects opened fire, hitting Thomas in the leg, stomach and shoulder, the leg shot striking the drummer's femoral artery. Scott almost bled out before making it to the hospital, but survived, spending 35 days in the hospital, 10 of which he was in a coma. It was almost a year before he would return to performing, and the group was able to perform a Label Showcase that had been scheduled prior to the shooting.
It was during this time away from the stage that the band wrote the song "Musta Had A Good Time", based in part on real life experiences the quartet underwent while living together in a house. The band was still living in the house in 2012, after recording the song, and were finally evicted by the owner after a party broke out during the shooting of the song's video. The band was kicked out of their own video shoot. The single climbed to #38 on the country charts and was the lead single for their major label debut album, Feels Like Carolina. The album featured 3 more singles, including their #1 hit "Carolina", "Close Your Eyes, which peaked at #4 and "Already Callin' You Mine" which hit #10.
The group has been hard at work in the studio, writing and recording an, as yet, untitled follow up album to Feels Like Carolina, and we have the lead single from that project in our spotlight today. Parmalee and "Roots" is today's Catch of the Day, new music you haven't heard, but you'll want to hear it again.