Josh Parker and ‘Blondie’ have fun while praising God
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Josh Parker’s smile grows as he breaks into some rocking licks on one of his guitar solos.
Most of the audience at Sand Spring Baptist Church is much older than Parker, but that makes little difference as he rips into “Days of Elijah.” With Josh’s father, Ivan, leading them, many pull out their phones, turn on their flashlights and sway.
It’s just fun while praising God.
Before the night is over, though, Josh will slow things down with a soulful rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” It’s a testament to Josh’s vast talent in bringing gospel music to the masses in a fresh way. “I am very guitar-driven from classical to blues,” he says of his own musical tastes. “I put my two cents in in a Christian way.”
And for more than six years, Josh has been traveling with his father, who happens to be a Southern Gospel legend. He joins the backing instrumental tape and offers several solos throughout the concert. Josh and his Gibson Les Paul Studio model, which he named “Blondie” are traditional, yet fresh.
“My grandfather gave me the money (for the guitar),” Josh remembers. “He wanted to do something nice for me and said, ‘I want you to get something you thought you would never be able to have.’ I went straight to Guitar Center. And you know what? Blondie caught my eye as soon as I walked in the store.”
That was in 2005 when Josh was a junior at Mt. Juliet (Tenn.) High School. He’s now 31 and has been married to Chelsie for just over three years.
He’s asked if there is pressure on performing with one of today’s most well-known gospel singers.
“That’s the million dollar question,” Josh laughs. “You know, when I first started, there was a type of pressure. I felt like I had to be Ivan Parker’s son. I can sing, but I choose to play. I love to play guitar. It is not as much pressure because I am not singing.
“But there has got to be a standard. You have got to be able to do the job.”
There’s little doubt Josh Parker can do that, whether in a rocking solo or backing up his father on some of his classics. It’s a duo that has been working together since Josh suggested that he go on the road soon after graduating with a music degree from Cumberland University near his home.
He’s been blessing audiences with his father ever since. It’s a ministry of spreading the Word and lifting people up.
“Everyone has a need,” Josh says. “It’s great to be part of a ministry that is 100 percent God every night. I have needs. Dad has needs. It’s great to come together as God’s people and just pray for each other. The unity, to be unified is very special.”
And that word could be a perfect description of the bond between Josh Parker and his father.
He’s asked if there are ever times where traveling close to 200 days a year can make the Parkers grow tired of each other. “Oh, I’ll take the Fifth on that,” Josh says before breaking into another laugh. “Actually, we work very well together. We are so similar. We like the same movies. We like the same music.”
Ivan agrees with his son. “We are definitely complementary. It’s really crazy how much on the same page we are on most things. His personality is a lot like mine. We do a lot of the same stuff. It’s interesting how that works.”
Ivan chuckles, “It’s spooky sometimes.”
There are times when Josh performs without his father around, usually turning the volume up for church youth events. “I really have a blast on those,” he says.
It’s just fitting since Josh Parker, along with Blondie, are tying traditions with newness, tying the old and the young.
He’s having fun while praising God.