Some children might draw with chalk, others might lay in the grass and gaze at clouds, still others might ride bikes until dusk draws near.
Parker Twomey’s coming of age was decidedly different. At 10, when most of his contemporaries might be joining Little League baseball teams or taking up ballet lessons, Twomey was gigging in Deep Ellum with his father.
“As an old soul … I never really felt like I got to fully embrace the innocence of childhood,” Twomey said during a recent conversation. “I do remember being 10 and writing songs and getting into music for the first time at that age and just realizing how different I was from my peers at that age. I was thinking about things that weren’t even on the mind of a typical 10-year-old and that’s just always been a part of who I am, in my essence, I think.”
To say Twomey (pronounced too-mee) is wise beyond his years is a bit like describing Mount Everest as tall. There’s an almost haunting wisdom and understanding woven into his songs, 11 of which comprise his debut album, the aptly titled All This Life, out July 15.
It would be enough if Twomey, who is all of 21 years old, had written and performed the striking country-folk compositions, but Life is, incredibly, just one of several impressive musical achievements.
A graduate of the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Twomey spent afternoons after school working as a studio gofer at Modern Electric Sound Recorders, where, over time, he caught the attention of rising country star Paul Cauthen. In 2019, Cauthen offered Twomey a slot in his band performing guitar and keyboards and singing harmonies, which enabled Twomey, before his 18th birthday, to cross performing at Red Rocks and the Grand Ole Opry off his to-do list.
“I feel like I am very much an observer,” Twomey said. “I’m just always looking for lessons [and] internal growth — that’s still important to me. I feel like I’ve made that one of my purposes, at least for this time in my life. So in every path I’ve taken — from Booker T. to the studio to Paul’s band — I’ve just been taking it in and seeing how everyone around me lives their life and what works and what doesn’t, and what I want to incorporate in mine as well.”
All This Life, recorded at the Echo Lab in Denton and co-produced by Matt Pence and Beau Bedford, makes a strong case for Twomey being on the right track. Whether it’s the surging “Counting Down the Days” (and the arresting lyric “Maybe I wouldn’t be a dreamer who’s been digging my grave since I was born”) or the sweeping “Little Stars,” Twomey makes a formidable impression — not for nothing does Cauthen compare his bandmate’s work to no less a Texas eminence than Kris Kristofferson.
Twomey is already writing his next album — “I do love the idea of not holding myself to a genre, but I want to stick with what I’m doing [now] for a little while,” he said — and looking ahead to his own headlining dates later this year (he’s currently on tour with Cauthen through August).
“I love that idea that we’re creating the soundtrack to someone’s lives,” Twomey said. “I just hope people resonate with my songs the way that I resonate with my favorite songs.”
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.