According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2014 the city of Parmele, North Carolina had a population of 264. 130 residents were female and a 134 were male. In 2015, the median household income for families living in the 1.2 square mile patch of land located in Martin County was only slightly over $35,000. There’s not much in the census-designated place other than a couple of blinking yellow lights, a gas station, and a small tin-roofed barn. Rather a curious locale for a platinum-selling country vocal band to get their name, but that’s exactly where Parmalee came from.
“We love eastern North Carolina,” Matt Thomas, lead vocalist and guitar player for Parmalee told Entertaining Options. “It’s a big part of our sound, which comes from the music we grew up hearing and listening to. And the people we grew up around are just as much a part of this music as we are.”
In 2016, Parmalee was nominated for ACM’s “New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year.” Their debut album, Feels Like Carolina, earned the group three Top 10 singles: “Carolina,” “Close Your Eyes,” and “Already Callin’ You Mine.” The band recently released “Sunday Morning,” the new single from their upcoming album, 27861. This Sunday, May 21 the boys will make their triumphant return to Freehold, New Jersey’s iPlay America with special guests Lauren Davidson and American Road for a meet-and-greet concert event. [Note: Click HERE for meet-and-greet pricing details.]
That aforementioned tin-roofed barn located in Parmele also happened to serve as Parmalee’s rehearsal space, “Studio B,” during the band’s early years.
“Growing up in the town of Robersonville, blues and soul really was the sound,” Matt informed. “My dad raised us on the Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East. Our sound came from years of being in cover bands and playing blues and soul and funk and pop. We played rock covers and country songs.”
The artist talked about different pockets across the country that each had their own local sound. He considers Parmalee to have a Martin County, North Carolina sound. When asked what enables a band to move from a local to a national fan base, Matt decided that was the job of the song.
“Sunday Morning” is the rousing single from the band’s upcoming album. Although it has a crisper edge and a slightly different feel, the song still has that classic, chart-topping Parmalee core.
“I’m glad you said that,” Matt acknowledged. “I read something by Garth Brooks and he said that as an artist you always have to leave that thing in your songs that was the reason people listened to you in the first place. This album has different production methods and we used different producers. We also wrote with different people. We recorded some of the material out on the road and some at the house. There are a lot of different things on this new album that we didn’t do on the older album.”
“This record was fun to make,” Thomas continued. “We used a lot of friends as producers and we kind of did it on our own, co-producing everything. We definitely got to do what we wanted to do on this album. That doesn’t happen for a lot of people, so we’re excited about that.”
This will be Parmalee’s third time playing iPlay America. It’s become one of the band’s favorite venues. Freehold is not like the southeast where it’s oversaturated with country music. People come out, the crowds are great, it’s been packed the past two times and that’s blown us away! Everybody is so enthusiastic. They’re happy to see you and it’s always a great meet-and-greet and everybody’s pumped up! iPlay America is a really cool spot to play and the catering is amazing. In fact, our tour manager was just talking about that. And, I think I might even try out the go-karts this time,” he laughed.
When asked who is the best go-kart driver in the band, Matt replied, “It depends on who’s feeling wild that day!”
“Sunday Morning” is Parmalee’s new single from their upcoming 27861 album. [The zip code for Parmele.] The doors open at 5:00 p.m., concert starts at 6:00 p.m., and tickets are available HERE.