Parmalee’s Josh McSwain talks touring must-haves & Jake Owen: Exclusive

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With nostalgic themes surging at radio lately, Parmalee certainly knows what it's like to be homesick and long for the past, especially as life gets faster and faster. "Home is where my heart is still beating," lead singer Matt Thomas sweetly sings in the group's first No. 1 country radio hit "Carolina," a syrup mid-tempo about a former love and (not so) ironically their hometown in North Carolina. It's a mix of both bold passion and hope. So, it's really no wonder that the song ultimately spent two weeks at the summit on the Mediabase radio tally in December and has since been certified gold, not an easy feat in the days of streaming and pirating.

"It feels great to know that something that we wrote and performed resonated with enough people to be considered a hit," lead guitarist Josh McSwain tells NashvilleGab exclusively. "I think everyone takes us more seriously now."

To choose the follow-up single to such chart-topping success is no easy task. "After a number one, there's no way to top it. You just have to try and match it," he says, noting their latest single is "Close Your Eyes." To celebrate the song, the group even has an online kissing booth where fans can submit their own photos.

On the song, McSwain adds, "We all love the song, and we're a new band to most listeners and wanted to go with a song that wasn't too left field of what they were used to [from us]."
 
In support of their debut album Feels Like Carolina, the pop-country band is out on the road on Jake Owen's nationwide Days Of Gold Tour. "[It] is awesome.  Jake has been great to all of us, and we've made a lot of new friends and fans," he says of the experience.
 
The hardest part about touring? "The setlist is a constant struggle," the musician chuckles. "It rarely goes as planned and is usually changed during the show.  We like to keep it live and play off what it looks like the crowd is into.  There may be a cover or two thrown in, we just try and keep it fun." But despite the stress, McSwain admits to three must-haves on the road: "slippers, PJs and my red snuggie."
 
Well ladies, there you go!
 
Parmalee - Close Your Eyes Single Cover Art
 
At last month's (April 6) 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, Parmalee graced the red carpet for the first time ever. "Being on tour constantly, we rarely get to go to any concerts.  At the ACM's you basically get to see all the best shows rolled into one night," he notes (and yes, they did attend plenty after-party events). On if awards are really that important to an artist's career, he asserts, "It's nice to feel that sense of accomplishment, but I don't think of it as a competitive event.  Any time anyone wins it's a win for country music and all of us."
 
In recent years, the genre has become even more pop than before, but McSwain says that's just the nature of the beast. "With technology today your exposed to so many different types of music that it can't help but run together some.  I think it's great because you're seeing some really interesting collaborations that you haven't seen in the past." But he says it doesn't inform how the group themselves approach their own material.
 
Even with such collaborations as Florida Georgia Line with Nelly on a remixed "Cruise," McSwain doesn't think we are headed toward a mono-genre. "There are some things that cross over between genre's, but I think there will always be things that remain separate.  As long as there's good music being made, I don't care what you call it."
 
Don't forget to grab a copy of "Close Your Eyes" on iTunes now!

 

Photos courtesy of Stoney Creek Records 

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