615 Spotlight: Parmalee Thriving Two Years After Near-Tragedy
615 Spotlight: Parmalee Thriving Two Years After Near-Tragedy

Stoney Creek recording artists Parmalee, who hit the Top 40 on the Country Airplay chart with their debut single "Musta Had A Good Time," is something that is a little more rare these days than it used to be - a family band. Comprised of brothers Matt Thomas on lead vocals, guitar and drummer Scott, along with their cousin Barry Knox on the bass, family ties are very important to the group. Even the fourth member, Josh McSwain has his history with the others in the band, being a childhood best friend of them all. That history and closeness has become a uniting factor, says Barry.

"I had to listen to him sing since I was young, being his cousin," he says with a smile. "My mom and his dad sang, and we grew up with all that family harmony. There's something cool about that."

Matt Thomas said that when the four started taking their craft seriously, they knew they were onto something special. "When we brought Josh in, he actually picked up that third harmony. From the point that we started writing, I think we based everything around those three harmonies. That's what separated us from everyone else."

Matt says that musically, their influences range all over the map, thanks to his father. "Our dad taught us how to play. He was a Southern Rock, Country Soul kind of guy. When we were growing up as kids, that's when Travis Tritt came out. He sang a lot like Travis Tritt. But also, there was a lot of soul singers, like Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, and Marvin Gaye. I guess it's a southern soul kind of thing that we cut our teeth on. We just loved music, all of it."

That love of music has kept the band afloat in the face of some tough circumstances. In the fall of 2010, the band found themselves the victims of an attempted robbery. Scott was shot in the leg, stomach, and shoulder, and was in the hospital for thirty-five days, ten of which he was in a coma. To give up would go against the family mantra, said Matt. "Our dad told us to keep plugging, no matter what. So, that's what we did. We would be headed in this direction, and things would be going great, then all of a sudden, the bottom starts falling out, which is part of the industry. What happened with Scott should be a case of 'You should stop now,' but we didn't. We had fans' support to do this, and we're still plugging on,' he said.

The incident happened just a few weeks before the showcase that got them their deal, so Scott didn't waste a second in his recuperation. "Once I woke up, I just started to think about getting better. I didn't think anything was wrong with me. They knew I had a lot of things to recuperate. My focus was getting better and back behind the drums."

2012 has been a great year for Parmalee, and 2013 - with the release of their debut album, looks to be even better. With the success of the single, Matt says the year has ended on the highest of high notes. "It's a lifetime goal we've always had, so for us, it's amazing. You want your song to do great, but hitting that top 40 is a huge thing for us, no doubt."