Matt Wallace, Josh Hymer to Continental Divide

Big changes have been announced this week for David Parmley and Continental Divide. After a period of relative inactivity, Parmley has announced two new hires, two new recording projects and a renewed aggressiveness with regard to his music career.

Matt Wallace is coming on board to play bass, and Josh Hymer to play banjo. They join Continental Divide veteran and bluegrass stalwart Randy Graham on mandolin, Steve Day on fiddle and Parmley on guitar and lead vocals.

David made his bones in the 1970s as a member of The Bluegrass Cardinals, whose sound was built around Parmley’s stirringly soulful singing. He remained a member until 1993 when he left the group – and his father (banjoist and co-founder Don Parmley) – to pursue a solo career. He formed the first edition of Continental Divide in 1994 with banjo picker Scott Vestal, and has been a fixture on the bluegrass scene until the past few years.

Longtime partner Graham has worked beside Parmley off and on since The Bluegrass Cardinals, and shared a few words about David’s recent absence, and his triumphant return.

“David has always had in intense desire to play good music, but had a minor health scare about 2 years ago, which necessitated his taking some time off…. on doctor’s orders. Now fully evaluated, recovered, and cleared to pursue the rigors of full time music, David is as pumped up as a cage fighter.

He certainly has not lost a step when it comes to delivering his trademark rhythm guitar and soulful vocals. He has surrounded himself with like-minded, accomplished and energetic journeymen and enthusiastically looks forward to doing whatever it takes to make up for lost time.

David is the most content I’ve ever seen him, and that’s been 44 years. Like he said, ‘this is going to be a LOT of fun!’ “

Matt Wallace has quite a resume for a 26 year old musician. He got his start working with Paul Williams and Victory Trio, where he saw the group win the SPBGMA  Bluegrass Gospel Band of the Year award twice. He has since worked with Audie Blaylock and Redline.

Josh Hymer comes to Continental Divide from a stint with The Bartley Brothers, having played previously with Ernie Thacker and Billie Rene and Cumberland Gap.

David is taking the new band straight into the studio, with two new projects in the works. One will be a secular bluegrass album, and the other a Volume II follow-up to Church House Hymns, his acclaimed 2007 Gospel release.

They are also booking aggressively for 2011 and beyond, with representation through Graham’s agency, The Graham Talent Group.

David is fired up about getting back at it…

“We are going to step up everything this coming year, including touring, cutting two new CDs, and the music. We are excited about Matt and Josh, and are really looking forward to this new change!”

Great news on all fronts. Having David back at full strength can only be to the betterment of bluegrass music.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.