After returning to the top of the charts with their No.1 hit single, “Just The Way,“ featuring Blanco Brown in March 2021, Parmalee is headed into their new chapter with renewed confidence and evolved country sound.
Due July 30 via Stoney Creek/BBR Records, the quartet’s—Barry Knox, Josh McSwain, Matt Thomas, and Scott Thomas—forthcoming album, For You, kick their Carolina country influence up a level. Produced by David Fanning, the 13-track collection traces through the classic-leaning soundscape exhibited in Parmalee’s 2013 debut, Feels Like Carolina, and their 2017 follow-up, 27861.
Parmalee is not trying to “reinvent the wheel.” Instead, the band is still finding the direction of their sound. Looking back at their discography, Parmalee connects the dots of what has worked for them in the past. Between breakups, drinking anthems, and tributes to the place they call home, authenticity serves as a steadfast component of their songs.
“Obviously we are gonna do our thing, melody-wise, music-wise, that make it that ‘Parmalee sound.’ But I think it was looking at songs that connected—”Carolina” or “Already Callin’ You Mine”—and then how “Just the Way” connected. What do these songs all have in common? So we really leaned into that. Instead of writing off the cuff stuff, we were like, let’s just try to keep doing this.”
The band’s multi-national, Platinum-certified smash of a collaboration with TrailerTrap creator, Blanco Brown, “Just the Way” serves as a sonic centerpiece of the project. In March, Parmalee brought this song to the top of the charts—their first No.1 single since “Carolina” in 2013.
The song began as an idea Fanning had to bring Brown into the studio. As the band’s longtime producer, who’s been with them since their major-label debut Feels Like Carolina, Fanning produced all and wrote most of the tracks on the new project and now serves as their manager.
In an interview with American Songwriter, Thomas shared that the positive sentiment behind “Just the Way” landed well amidst the pandemic, sending an uplifting message. He explains, “I think it’s what helps people connect with the song. The nursery rhyme-esque melody sounds familiar right out of the gate. Then put that tempo behind the message; those are the songs that you try to write all the time.”
Collaborating with Brown opened their ears to previously unimagined soundscapes. Working with other artists, Thomas says, “broadened all aspects of music.” He adds, “It’s the things you would never think of—it’s crazy how they can work so well together. And there are so many more audiences out there that you can connect with if you’re not trying to write genre-specific or radio-specific things. You just kind of see what happens.”
Parmalee teamed up with another artist, Michael Fitzpatrick (‘Fitz’) of Fitz and the Tantrums for an R&B-tinged take on a country song. In an earlier interview with American Songwriter, Thomas describes the song as “a unique way of telling someone that they are the best thing you ever did and that they are your ‘Greatest Hits.'”
“Take My Name” takes Parmalee’s sought-after melodies to the next level in a touching tune about finding the person that feels like a life partner. The final single off of the album, Thomas says, “is about finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. A feeling you haven’t had before,” Thomas stated. “You don’t want to look anywhere else or waste any more time, you are ready to make that person yours.”
Co-writing with songsmiths like Ashley Gorley and Barry Knox, Thomas feels their guidance helped push the bounds of this fresh project.
“Early in my writing career, I would present an idea and want to do that,” says Thomas. “Now, I sit back and soak it all in. I’ve learned to let those guys who do it every day say what they would normally. Growing as a songwriter, you evolve and you start to understand where these other people are coming from.”
Pre-save Parmalee’s new album, For You, here before its July 30 release.
1.“For You” – (Matt Thomas, David Fanning, Justin Wilson)
2. “Just the Way” – (Matt Thomas, Kevin Bard, Nolan Sipe)
3. “Backroad Girl” – (Matt Thomas, Tommy Cecil, Blake Bollinger, Brinley Addington)
4. “Take My Name” – (Matt Thomas, Ashley Gorely, David Fanning, Ben Johnson)
5. “I Do” – (Tyler Hubbard, Matt Thomas, Corey Crowder, David Fanning)
6. “Miss You” – (Michael Tyler, Matthew McGinn, David Fanning)
7. “Greatest Hits (feat. Fitz)” – (Matt Thomas, Kevin Bard, Nolan Sipe, Andrew Goldstein, Michael Fitzpatrick)
8. “Better With You” – (Matt Thomas, Ashley Gorely, David Fanning)
9. “Forget You – (feat. Avery Anna)” (Matt Thomas, Shane Minor, David Fanning, Thomas Archer)
10. “Alone Like That” – (Matt Thomas, Tommy Cecil, David Fanning, James McNair)
11. “I See You” – (Matt Thomas, David Fanning, Justin Wilson, Steven McMorran)
12. “I’ll Take The Chevy” – (Matt Thomas, Josh McSwain, Barry Knox, Zachary Kale, James McNair, Josh Mirenda)
13. “For You”– (Matt Thomas, Barry Knox, Josh McSwain, Scott Thomas, David Fanning)
Photo Credit: Joseph Llanes