This article is a contribution from Budd Walker, a blogger and photographer based in Oklahoma City, OK. We hope to have regular contributions from Budd in 2017 as he visits festivals and other bluegrass events in the central parts of the US.
On Tuesday, December 27, I saw the audience come alive in the Cimarron Breeze concert venue at the Old Church in Perkins, OK. Monica Taylor, singer, songwriter, Cherokee maiden, red dirt rambler, and hostess for the evening, introduced The Parks Family Band.
Kenny Parks and his family, along with Byron Berline and Doug Hawthorne, have been at the forefront of the initial planning and continued success of the annual Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival that is held each October in Guthrie, OK.
Kenny and Cindy Parks, both attended and graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and started their family in Duncan after graduation. Their family group is a bluegrass band born on the plains of Oklahoma, composed of a mother, father, and three sons. The Parks Family has been performing together since 2002, starting when the youngest member of the family was only nine years of age. Since then the family has performed across the United States with their homegrown approach to bluegrass.
With Cindy on guitar and Kenny on stand-up bass, they raised their three sons surrounded by music. Now with Sam Parks on mandolin, Blake Parks on fiddle, and Joel Parks on banjo and bones, the musical dynamic is primed for traditional bluegrass. Early on in the family’s musical development, they turned to song-writing to continue developing traditional music and fill any night with dancing and fun, family-friendly entertainment.
Sam lives in Boulder, CO where he plays with two bluegrass bands, The Lonesome Days and Head For The Hills. Blake is here in Oklahoma and has two bands, Steelwind (bluegrass) and Nicnos (fusion rock.) Joel’s regular band is called Ripple Green and they play indie rock. All three are songwriters and hard workers pursuing their music.
Cindy who teaches, and Kenny who works for Haliburton, reside in Duncan, but are both Stillwater natives, making them part of the Stillwater camp, who all jam through the night at festivals in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.
You can hear samples of the most recent Parks Family Band album below.