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Menlo kid performs at MerleFest

Menlo Elementary’s 5th grader Parker Thomas was selected to perform at MerleFest. Parker is a singer and songwriter.

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MerleFest is an annual “traditional plus” music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the campus of Wilkes Community College. The festival, which is held the last weekend in April, was hosted by Grammy Award winner Doc Watson prior to his death and is named in memory and honor of his son, Eddy Merle Watson.

Parker, who turns 11 years old tomorrow, has been playing the guitar for three years. He sent in audition videos and was selected to play at the prestigious festival.

His set list for MerleFest included Head Full of Doubt and Swept Away by the Avett Brothers and Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.

Parker said he doesn’t have anything planned for his next show, but he will do some open mic nights here and there.

You might can catch Parker out on Broad Street in Rome. He likes to go busking there. In fact, he went busking in Gatlinburg, TN on his way home from MerleFest and made $100 in about 30 minutes. He’s saving money  for an electric guitar. He bought his current guitar, a Baby Taylor, from busking money last time.

Parker recently started an Instagram account for his music.

Other artists who have performed on MerleFest’s stages over the years have included Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Earl Scruggs, The Kruger Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, John Prine, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Donna the Buffalo, Natalie MacMaster, Vassar Clements, Hot Tuna, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, Billy Strings, Junior Brown, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Claire Lynch, Elvis Costello, Howard Armstrong, Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, The Doobie Brothers, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, Sharon Gilchrist, The Avett Brothers, Tony Rice, François Vola, Old Crow Medicine Show, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley, Linda Ronstadt, Levon Helm, Taj Mahal, Bruce Hornsby, Cadillac Sky and Vince Gill.

Parker is the son of Brian and Renee Thomas.


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