Growing up in eastern North Carolina, the four men of Parmalee learned to mix good music and good eating from a very young age. The stove was always hot, or the grill was always burning when family would gather. And the live music rarely stopped.

“Barry’s mom played piano, and my uncle played guitar, so it was always a jam session going on at Thanksgiving or Christmas or anytime we hung out,” singer Matt Thomas says as brother Scott nods in agreement. Barry Knox is their cousin, and while Josh McSwain is the only non-relative in the band he says his experience is the same. His father was in a band that practiced at his house!

“Every night was a jam session,” McSwain says during an interview for Mike’s Hard’s ongoing Grilled Series. The “Already Calllin’ You Mine” singers talked in the middle of a great barbecue at Country Jam in Grand Junction, Colo. In between bites of a burger, hot dog or leg of chicken they played music from the Feels Like Carolina album, including the current single:

Parmalee are proud of their North Carolina roots. The Thomas brothers recall pig pickings being the default reason to gather in the summer. Matt Thomas explains that they’d get a whole hog and cook it in a barrel.

“Believe it or not, when we first started playing, some of our first gigs were at the pig picking,” he adds.

“All the pig you could eat, all the beer you could drink …” They got a paid a little, too.

Summer gatherings are more difficult to come by these days, as Parmalee spend much of the summer on the road. However, they bring a tent along for special occasions.

“My mom will drive out and come to a show,” McSwain — the group’s official grillmaster — says. “She makes the best pickled okra and she always brings us a couple of jars, and it is delicious."

“Capital D,” Matt Thomas adds, as the others nod in agreement. Learn more about Mike’s Hard and their Grilled Series at their official website.

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