Southern country band Parmalee sets McSwain show

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

NASHVILLE – It has taken nearly 15 years and the near-death of its drummer in an armed robbery for Parmalee to become an “overnight sensation.” The up-and-coming group will perform in concert Nov. 6 at the McSwain Theatre.

The band’s music permeates country and pop radio these days; blending a mix of country, bluegrass, and good ol’ southern rock for a unique sound that is attracting fans and music industry executives.

It started with brothers Matt and Scott Thomas perfecting music chops playing in their father’s band as teenagers. When their father retired, they enlisted a cousin, Barry Knox and a friend, Josh McSwain, to form Parmalee. They hit the road in 2001.

"We borrowed money from our mamas and lived on peanuts," Matt says. "We spent nine or 10 years playing all over the country and taking any opportunities we could find to get us to the next level."

By 2010, the band was on the cusp of the big time. Courted by Broken Bow Records, the quartet was about to sign its big record deal but had not yet inked a contract with the company when would-be robbers confronted them after an appearance in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

When the smoke cleared, three bullets had ripped through Scott’s body. He was not expected to live. He was in a coma 10 days; in the hospital 45.

Five months after being wounded, his bandmates helped him seat himself behind a drum kit. For six songs, he beat those drums as hard as he could. With Broken Bow Record executives on-site for the audition, a contract was finally signed and the band was about to take off.

Its debut album “Feels like Carolina” produced two songs that would make it onto Billboard Magazine’s country and pop charts. The group’s whimsical, rock-driven “Musta Had a Good Time” peaked at 38 but has generated new interest on the Internet.

The song “Carolina” took its sweet time climbing the Billboard charts. It finally peaked at No. 10 after many months of a slow, steady climb. The song has a frequent country theme – a musician road warrior missing his loved one. You can view “Carolina” at

"After all we've been through, we're ecstatic," said Matt Thomas, lead vocalist. "We appreciate what we're doing right now, probably more than anybody ever has. We're thankful that the label and radio hung in there with us," Matt says. "It was a matter of getting our music to the people, and they did that for us. We're just glad to be here."

Tickets for Parmalee are on sale now at the McSwain Theatre. The band’s performance is slated for Nov. 6. To reserve tickets phone the McSwain at 580-332-8108. The McSwain is located at 130 N. Main in downtown Ada.