It is always nice to go into listening to an album not knowing what to expect and then be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it. That is the case with Parmalee’s Feels Like Carolina.
Brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, along with their cousin Barry Knox and longtime friend Josh McSwain have been playing together for over a decade. In 2001, when they played at Corrigans, a watering hole near East Carolina University where the guys went to school, Parmalee was born. They credit Jason Aldean and Eric Church as artists who have paved the way for their sound. They have said “If you think of Jason Aldean as the rockin’ side of country, think of Parmalee as the country side of rock.” Throughout the album (the guys had a hand in writing every one of the 12 tracks), one can definitely hear their rock influences as well as that of bluegrass and the blues. On December 10th, the quartet will release their debut album Feels Like Carolina on Stoney Creek Records.
The album opens with “Musta Had A Good Time” which was voted #1 on Sirius XM The Highway’s “Hot 30Live” for a month and was a top 40 hit on mainstream country radio. Their second and current single “Carolina” can also be found on the album. That track is a top 10 and climbing hit.
“Day Drinkin’” the second track, will surely brighten up the cold weather doldrums with a laid back, chill vibe reminiscent of a Kenny Chesney song. The song will turn your “happy hour right into two three or four if you want.”
“Move” and “Dance” will have you doing both of those things as the songs successfully mix country and rock with catchy melodies.
“Close Your Eyes” is one of my favorite songs on the record. It has that easy to slip into groove similar to a Florida Georgia Line song or Cole Swindell’s “Chillin’ It.” “Hey baby ‘fore the night gets any older/Lean your pretty self over here a little closer/I need to hold ya/I wanna show ya/what you don’t wanna miss.” Definitely sounds like a radio hit.
“Think You Oughta Know That” is a song that asks a completely relatable question: what more can a man do to convince a woman to stay and get back what they have been missing. He professes that even though times are difficult he “Ain’t going nowhere” because “Through good and bad I been here/And I ain’t going nowhere/Baby you should know that/By now you oughta know that.”
“Back in the Day” is great up tempo song about what it was like growing up back in the day. The themes (beer, farms, and lakes) have been done before, but this song delivers them in a nostalgic way. I can see this one going over really well live.
“My Montgomery” is a country rockin’ (with a hint of 80’s guitar) love song about being on the road far from the one you love and yearning to be back with that person “I can’t wait to touch down/‘Cause I need her touch now/She’s where I belong/Yeah I’m going home.”
“Already Callin’ You Mine” is about an instant connection. Even though two people barely know one another, you know that you just want to be with that person “Cause I’m already thinking about you and me getting’ out of here and taking a drive/Just slide a little closer put your head on my shoulder like this ain’t our first time/Girl don’t worry about holding on tight because I’m already callin’ you mine.” Another radio ready single.
“I’ll Bring The Music” is a high octane Jason Aldean style party song that will definitely bring the good times up a notch and “kick this thing in gear.”
“Another Day Gone” is the perfect song to close the album. It reminds us that it takes two to make a relationship work and even though one mistake can change a relationship, it can be fixed, even if you have to swallow your pride. “I’m gonna see if I can’t right a couple wrongs/Before I wake up with another day gone.”
There have been few releases lately that have been true records, ones that you can listen to from start to finish. Add Parmalee’s to that list.