In 2013, the song “Carolina” captured the hearts and ears of country fans across America.
Since then, the band Parmalee — consisting of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, cousin Barry Knox and best friend Josh McSwain — has gone on to release hit songs “Close Your Eyes” and “Already Callin’ You Mine.”
Star magazine got the chance to catch up with the Parmalee boys at the 2015 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel — and they filled us in on a special proposal, their music and love lives, and more.
Star: Your group is pretty much all family members. Does it ever get hard dealing with each other?
Josh: It does. It gets hard every day. But we’ve been together so long and I’m the only one who’s not a family member, but these guys have accepted me so graciously that now I’m part of the family and I just love them.
Matt: You just have to know when to get out of the way, when to not say something or when to say something at the right time.
Star: You guys had a video shoot for “Musta Had A Good Time” a while back, and there was an after party that went a little wild. Can you tell me about that?
Barry: It was a great time. The only reason we got kicked out is because we had a lot of farm animals on the shoot.
Matt: One of the mini horses [pooped] on the carpet in the house. That’s when the lady told us, “Alright, guys, you’ve got to get out of my house.” But it was worth every minute.
Star: What is the song “Carolina” about?
Josh: The truth behind this song is I’m the only married guy in the band. We kind of wrote this song about my wife and talking about how we’re going all the time and you miss everything. It turned into a hit song.
Star: Josh, do you and your wife listen to that song together?
Josh: She still hates me. We’re still married, but she loves it and doesn’t want to talk about it.
Barry: It was the first song that we wrote as a band that really captured who we are and how we feel about everything and how we sound. That song will always be the number one song for us.
Star: Are you guys working on a new album?
Matt: We’ve already recorded 10 plus songs in the studio. “Already Calling You Mine,” our single on country radio is like 25, so we’re going to take that as far as we can. When the time is ready to have new music out, we’ll have it. We’ve got some great songs, so we’re excited.
Star: How do you guys source music?
Scott: We get songs from other artists, songwriters in Nashville, and we all write together sometimes.
Matt: We do write the majority of the stuff that we’re making. Every time I’m home, I’m writing every day.
Star: What’s going on with the rest of your love lives?
Scott: [Matt and I] we’re single and ready to mingle.
Barry: I just set a date for October 15 of next year.
Star: Barry, how did you propose?
Barry: I actually did it on her favorite ski slope in Virginia. I didn’t get down on one knee. We were going down her favorite slope, and I stopped her in the middle, and I got down on one ski and I said, “Would you marry me?”
Star: Who were your favorite artists growing up and why?
Matt: Growing up, my dad was my favorite artist. He sings and he taught us how to sing and play guitar.
Scott: The Allman Brothers Band. Our dad introduced us to those guys.
Josh: I’m going to go with The Amazing Rhythm Aces — my favorite country band of the 70’s. Pretty much my first ever guitar lick was from them.
Barry: Led Zeppelin, no doubt about it. Jon Bonham was the one who basically taught me how to play. I don’t play drums in this band, but it was my first instrument.
Star: What is your favorite song made by your band?
Barry: Matt’s favorite song is “Think You Oughta Know That.” Mine is “Move” because it’s talking about just being on the lake and being on a pontoon.
Matt: I just like it right now. I go through different songs. “Musta Had A Good Time” is still going to be one of my favorite songs.
Scott: “Musta Had A Good Time” because it’s a party song.
Josh: Mine is “Carolina,” because I’m from North Carolina, and I love it.
Which Parmalee song is your favorite? Sound off below!