This is a time of year when we are accustomed to seeing bluegrass groups make some changes in personnel, and sometimes even new acts coming forward to launch their career. Here’s a story about both.
Jeff Parker has decided to rebrand his touring act going forward as a partnership with his young guitarist, billing as Jeff Parker & Colin Ray.
Parker says that this decision comes from a number of angles.
“Well… I’m a year in now on my solo act, and things have been going very well. But it’s a lot of work running a band, and I’ve been thinking of taking on a partner. Colin is interested, and I think it will be easier on me spreading the workload between the two of us.
I’m 59, and Colin is 23. With my experience in the business and his youthful energy, I think we will make a great team.”
Colin is a recent graduate of the bluegrass music program at ETSU, and has made a name for himself on the road with Parker for his high, clear tenor voice. He says there are no plans to change anything about their musical focus.
“We’re going to try to keep building our show, focusing on good music first, and quality entertainment.”
There will be some new faces on the Parker & Ray show in 2020, as original band members Joey Cox and David Chrisley have elected to leave. They will be replaced by Barry Crabtree on banjo and Tyler Griffith on bass. Max Silverstein will remain on fiddle.
The new band will jump right in to the studio in January to get started on a new record. Jeff released his latest independently, but said that he and Colin will entertain any interest from labels that may develop.
Like that recent album, Time Has Made A Change, the material will include both new, original bluegrass with some classic country songs that can be made grassy.
“Colin and I are writing now for the new one, and finding some older country songs that fit our style. I really like Waylon Jennings’ songs, and am looking at a couple of those now too.”
Jeff will continue booking the group himself, and says that they plan to include some more church shows in 2020. His contact info can be found online.
“I don’t copy nobody, Colin don’t either. We just want to play the way we play and sing the way we sing.”
And that’s exactly as it should be.