Singer-songwriter Michael C. Parris is from Millboro, N.C., most famous, perhaps, for where Daner Johnson taught Charlie Poole to play banjo. Michael’s grandfather, Red Parris, used to play with Daner in the late ’30s. Songs by Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Emmylou Harris, John Prine and Waylon Jennings were fixtures in his young life, and you can feel their influence in Michael’s music. Michael grew up in Randolph County, passing the time by hunting rabbit, priming tobacco, working in chicken houses, milking cows, playing basketball, listening to country music and running wild with his cousins. Later, he attended UNC-Greensboro and, in 2002, after joining the Peace Corps, he began writing songs while serving in Jamaica.
When Covid hit, Michael started posting his songs on social media, and, as fate would have it, wound up writing songs with Will Kimbrough, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who became a mentor and a friend, helping Michael polish his skills. Will suggested that Michael attend the Mercyland Songwriting Retreat in Hot Springs N.C., where Michael met Phil Madeira and Cindy Morgan. After one listen to “3-Legged Dog Named Bo,” Cindy suggested Michael do a solo project, and the seed was planted.
One fine day in 2021, Michael got his big break when Todd Snider asked him to open for him in Charleston, S.C. Soon after Will Kayuk agreed to fund and produce Michael’s solo project, assembling an amazing group of Nashville musicians known as The 9 Finger Chicken String Band that included Will Kimbrough, Chris Donahue, Benjamin Bynum, Court Clement, Steve Brewster and Andy Leftwich. The album “HoneyBee” blends roots music styles, including country, bluegrass, roots-rock and folk with simple lyrics and beautiful imagery, harkening back to Michael’s Randolph County beginnings.