U.P. State Fair to feature country band Parmalee

Country band Parmalee is set to play at the Upper Peninsula State Fair. (Photo courtesy of Delta County Chamber of Commerce)

ESCANABA — Parmalee, a band with four No. 1 singles, multiple platinum records and more than one billion on-demand streams, will perform at the Upper Peninsula State Fair in August.

According to Billboard, Parmalee was the most-streamed country group in 2023. The band is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Thomas and his guitarist and percussion brother, Scott Thomas. Their cousin Barry Knox plays the bass and their lifelong friend Josh McSwain plays guitar and keyboards.

Their first song to top the charts was “Carolina” followed by a platinum-certified No. 1 single with Blanco Brown “Just the Way.” The band also released “Take My Name,” which was Billboard’s Most Played Country Song of 2022.

Recently, Parmalee’s third consecutive No. 1 single is “Girl In Mine,” Billboard’s eighth-most played country song of 2023. Those three No. 1’s and 15 other tracks are featured on their album “For You 2.”

The country hitmakers went through tough times in their earlier days. In September 2010, with “Carolina” a staple in their live shows, Parmalee was playing as many concerts as they could in preparation to come to Nashville and showcase for labels the following month. One night, the band performed a set for 15 people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and made $15. The band was traveling in an RV outfitted with bunks and was parked at the venue. Scott Thomas was in his bunk when someone knocked on the bus door.

Matt Thomas opened the door and was met with a gun to his head.

“Two guys in bandanas stepped into the RV screaming, ‘Give me the cash,'” Matt Thomas said. “I said, ‘I don’t have any cash. I don’t have any cash.'” The robber fired his gun in the RV. Matt shouted for Scott, who had his (weapons) carry permit and his pistol tucked under his bunk. Scott emerged from the back to diffuse the situation and while taking out both assailants, was shot three times … and he’s on the couch bleeding out.”

Scott Thomas was airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the middle of the night and received two blood transfusions in transit.

When his bandmates arrived at the hospital, they were told he had a 5% chance of survival. The drummer was in a coma for 10 days and spent another 30 in the hospital recovering.

Five months later, he hobbled on stage to play a showcase with Parmalee for Stoney Creek Records — which signed them immediately.

At the U.P. State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, Parmalee will perform at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. General seating for grandstand entertainment is free with admission to the fair. To purchase advance admission to the fair, visit upstatefair.net. Special Gold Circle tickets for their performance can be bought at Island Resort & Casino at islandresortandcasino.com/entertainment.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today