As the world finishes reopening after two years under a global pandemic, bands are gladly returning to the road playing live shows. New bands and new personnel are popping up as the bluegrass community strives for normalcy following their hiatus.
Jeff Parker has left the mandolin position in Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers to resume playing his own music with his own band. Chris Davis is filling Parker’s slot in the Radio Ramblers, and leaving a vacancy yet to be decided upon by the Grascals.
Parker’s new ensemble, Jeff Parker & Company, is comprised of himself on mandolin with Jake Vanover on guitar, and the father/son duo of West Parks on bass and 18-year-old Taylor Parks on banjo.
In a phone interview, Parker stressed, “Now that the pandemic is over, I want to pick up where we left off with three new members. Jake was my first choice. He’s a good singer, good musician, and good person. He also lives close to home (in Kentucky). Taylor will be sought after. He’s very talented, raised right, and a good person as well.”
“I’ve got a lot to do. I want to work on original songs. We play the Station Inn on November 26 and, while in Nashville, we plan to take new band photos. By the end of the year, I will get branding started. We hope to have a new project out in 2023.”
Parker’s quintet has signed with Graham Talent Group, with Amelia Ricci as his booking agent.
“This is a big change for me. I’ve always done my own booking.”
The professional musician is grateful for the work he has had with other acts. “Joe (Mullins) was a great guy to work for, and I still fill-in some with Dailey & Vincent.”
And Parker is excited for the future. “I have my own sound, and I really believe in bringing good quality music to people. I just want to be me.”
Chris Davis, formerly with the Grascals, is Parker’s replacement in the Radio Ramblers.
The multi-instrumentalist shared, “The main reason for the switch is traditional bluegrass has always been at the core of my heart. The Grascals are all my dear friends and I love every single one of those guys and gal. I’ll leave the guitar position at the end of November. My first love (instrument wise) has always been the mandolin, and that’s what I get to do with Joe (Mullins).”
Less distance is another plus for Davis. “I’m a Buckeye from the state of Ohio, and the band is based there. My commute to work will be lessened, and I will share singing duties with Adam Macintosh, and sing harmonies in the trio as well as the quartet.”
The Grascals will announce Davis’ replacement in the near future.
The music scene looks bright and musicians are eager to perform their best for receptive audiences.