by Millie Voliva-Wiggs

   July 2019 — He has built his career around the arts — musician, magician, actor and singer. It all started with his grandfather, the late Roy Burcher, and the harmonica. He honed his skills with precision and before long his craft would intersect with his art.

   For Jeremy Parks, art vs. life is all he’s ever know.

   From a very early age Parks showed there was another side to him — the stage life.

  “When he’s on stage, he’s a different person,” Grandfather Burcher once reveal about his grandson.

   At the tender age of 4, Burcher was trying to learn the bluegrass song, “Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” his grandson began to sing, absorbing every word.

   After thinking about what just happened, a light bulb went off in his head and he encouraged the youngster to take the stage. The 4-year-old Parks had already been practicing for this moment.

   “I would stand on my grandfathers bed, look in the mirror, start singing what I had heard in the family band, blow the harmonica and then clap for myself,” Parks disclosed.

   The rest as they say is history.  

   He went on to sing for and with his grandfather and his grandfather’s best friend,

the legendary Charlie McCoy from the Million Dollar Band. As the music director of

Hee-Haw, McCoy invited the young Parks to play on stage with him, which he did

from age five thru his mid-teen years. Those performances would include opening

for other country music legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and

Mel Tillis. 

   He went on to include “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis in his own show.   

   The cowboy’s bluesy twang is a style vocally inspired by the electric influence

of Frank Sinatra emerged with his traditional country idols.

   Parks continued to perform across Virginia locally with his grandfather

including the WCMS radio live country weekly music show and at the

legendary “Gong Show” at the County Line with Carolina Charlie and

the Heavy Cowboys.

   “I had several first place wins,” he boasts. “I remember Carolina

Charlie giving me a stool to stand on so I could be as tall as the other

two that got second and third place.”

   His grandfather was proud.

   Parks grew up admiring his harmonica-playing grandfather and

at the age of 10, he was inspired to take up the harmonica as

well. You could say the torch was passed from one generation

to the other.

   While he went on to learn guitar and keyboards, harmonica

was his instrument of choice — a skill he has refined for nearly

35 years.

   At age 16, Jeremy was featured on the national nightly news

with Peter Jennings as one of the youngest professional

harmonica players in the US.   

   During those high school years, Jeremy was heavily involved in

choir and theater, taking on lead rolls of several productions and

by his junior year he became fascinated with the illusions of magic.

He also recruited 4 of the best singers he knew from his high school

and formed an A Cappella group called the Skool Boyz. The group

quickly gained notoriety and would perform all over the east coast,

opening for national acts.

   Skool Boyz would go on to record three songs produced by Leon

Sylvers from the 70’s platinum group (The Sylvers) and in 1993, they

were invited to perform on The Black Entertainment Television

show “Teen Summit.”

   When the group disbanded in 1994, Parks continued his singing

career as a performer at the Williamsburg based amusement park

— Busch Gardens for several years.

   It was there, he tells us, that his love of magic, acting and singing

intertwined. “I actually did a one man magical musical show at

Busch Gardens called ‘The Enchanted Laboratory’ where I played

the character Northrop — highlighting acting, singing, dancing

and magic.”

   In the summer of 1997 landed a job singing and do voiceovers

for cartoons produced by CBN (The Christian Broadcasting

Network) before moving to Nashville after college to follow his

dreams of recording and working as a studio demo singer and
harmonica player.

  Parks ventured away from music for a few years before starting

his own karaoke business. The singer found his way back to

Virginia, back into the studio and back to his roots as evident in

his upcoming album of the same name.

  “Roots” is a project in progress and he has released four singles

from the album that are available on his website including the

title cut and “Virginia Is Still For Lovers.”

   The singer admits he’s ready to complete his music goals. 
   “I want to finish the album project, have it on the country

billboard, and perform my songs on tour.”

   His dream destination to perform any where in the world

would take him back to Nashville.
   “I would love to perform at the Grand Old Opry,” he beams.

… and the beats goes on.

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