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Parmalee primed to headline this year’s Regatta

WORTHINGTON -- For the second year in a row, a top-selling country music artist is headlining the lineup on the Sailboard Beach stage for the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival.

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Parmalee is the headliner for this year's Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival. The band has been tabbed to perform at 9 p.m. Saturday (June 8). (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - For the second year in a row, a top-selling country music artist is headlining the lineup on the Sailboard Beach stage for the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival.

Parmalee, likely best known for their 2013 No. 1 hit “Carolina,” is scheduled to perform at 9 p.m. Saturday. The Worthington gig comes on the heels of concerts in much bigger venues (June 4 in Amarillo, Texas; June 6 in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and June 7 in Columbus, Ohio): yet Parmalee is planning on bringing on what their website calls “high-energy shows” to the shores of Lake Okabena.

Parmalee’s name pays tribute to the group’s small-town America roots. Comprised of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas (lead vocals and drums), their cousin Barry Knox (bass) and close friend Josh McSwain (lead guitar), the band got its start in Parmelee, N.C. (population 278).

“Raised on a diet of southern rock, country and blues, they formed in 2001 as a bunch of small-town boys chasing wild weekend nights, but their talents eventually took them beyond the little cement block they rehearsed in and on to country music’s biggest stages.”

A dozen years later, after much persistence, “Carolina” was a Platinum-certified No. 1 smash, and the band’s debut album “Feels Like Carolina” peaked in the top 10. Two more singles (“Close Your Eyes” and “Already Callin’ You Mine”) rose to No. 3 and No. 10, respectively, on Billboard’s country airplay chart, and Parmalee toured across the nation as a headlining act. Parmalee also earned Academy of Country Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards nominations.

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The band’s second album, “27861,” yielded the hits “Roots” and “Sunday Morning,” which each enjoyed chart time on the Billboard Top 40 country airplay chart and have seen more than 30 million combined streams on Spotify. Parmalee has had six singles that have landed in the top 40 on the country airplay chart.

The most recent release of Parmalee music, “Party Pack.” came in April 2018. It was billed by the band as “a compilation of Parmalee’s six most rebel-rousing songs, packaged as a surefire party starter.” The first track in the collection is “Hotdamalama,” and also included familiar band favorites like “Musta Had a Good Time” and two new songs that showcase the group’s country-rock sound.

“Each song in the pack was written by co-lead singer Matt Thomas and fully reflects the quartet’s rambunctious spirit,” Parmalee’s website states. “We love bringing people together for a good time and we hope they’ll smile, sing along and raise on up.”

Like many successful bands, Parmalee - which also recently released the music video “Be Alright” - has had to overcome a bit of adversity along their journey.

Members of the groups worked odd jobs such as logging forests, construction and other forms of manual labor to make ends meet prior to their initial breakthrough. And, in 2010, two men attempted to rob the band at gunpoint following a show. That led to Scott Thomas being hospitalized for 35 days - 10 of which he spent in a coma - for multiple gunshot wounds.

“Despite a five percent chance of survival, he miraculously pulled through and the band went on to secure a record deal just four months later,” the band’s website states.

Eighteen years after the band formed, Parmalee continues to survive and entertain crowd after crowd across the country. And it’s not just with music, either.

“The band is no stranger to a little creative wording as well,” notes the Parmalee website. “After decades of friendship and endless days spent on a bus together, the four guys nearly have a language of their own. They’ve even begun sharing some of their original vocabulary with fans through a hilarious video series called ‘Parmalisms,’ which shows off their fun-loving nature.”

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Through it all, the band’s fondness for each other and the sheer joy its members has in performing for others remain at the group’s foundation.

“Seeing people smile, laugh and enjoy themselves because of something you’ve done is a great feeling,” Knox said.

Added Scott Thomas: “Sharing that joy and making people have fun makes all those rougher days worth it.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Parmalee is eagerly awaiting its visit to the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival.

"We are incredibly honored to be playing the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival,” Matt Thomas said. “Concerts on the waterfront are some of our favorites, and this one is going to be great.  We're excited to see everyone and to bring the party to a festival with such a long and rich history in Worthington.”

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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