McCoy: Avalanche roars into the Valley, Winter Park local Parks Thomson’s debut album
This Side of Berthoud
Through debut album “Avalanche,” Parker “Parks” Thomson, III is rolling out to speak for people who, like him, have “been through some stuff” and survived.
“Speak out for what you believe in,” he said. “Take a walk in someone else’s shoes. There’s a lot to think about and it’s overwhelming. So spread some love.”
“I’d like to think of it as the tip of the iceberg breaking off,” Parks said of the album name. His music career has had a “snowball effect” and the album shows Parks’ “hard-hitting energy.”
“Hold down your own town,” Parks says about song “Chain Reaction”, the album’s “super dark” piece. Parks does that — holds down his town — throughout the work.
Every part of the album “leads back to the mutual feeling of Colorado.” Parks is “a local skier who made something with music.” The Thomson family moved to Fraser when Parks was five; his dad was a ski instructor with the Winter Park Resort. Parks went on to become a pro skier 2008-on, racing slope style, rail jams, and half pipes.
He’s been writing lyrics since he was 12, “heavily influenced” by DJ and mentor Larry “Normski” Norman, who told Parks that he had the rhymes, and that he should continue to write them down. Now, Parks said, the process has become instinct.
Parks sang in the local choir, and in a band called The Frolics, and learned chords and scales (for seven years) with Glen Tompkins, who Parks said was “the best guitar teacher any ADHD kid could have.”
He rapped with DJs, spinned as “Nectaflow,” and shared his talents as a spoken word artist. At the time Parks was listening to gangsta and punk, then lots of Reggae. When role model Ralph Green, a paralympian, turned him on to artist DMX, rap, too, became a special part of Parks’ life.
He got his first recording setup when “FL8O” unloaded a PreSonus FireStudio, for a deal. Lift-op Kyle, Parks’ manager in 2015, got Parks in touch with producer “Jomeezius the Genius” (Jomar Dogue), who’s worked with Chamillionaire, Rittz and more.
Parks wrote down seven songs, and in them Jomeezius appreciated his vision. He gave Parks two tracks to freely create. “Meeting and working with a major producer was a dream” for Parks, he said. “I was freaking out.”
Jomeezius gave Parks the first song, “Welcome Home,” as a challenge. He succeeded and Parks said he was “let off my leash.” The two created “One in a Million” together for the album, the first Jomeezius has worked on that has his vocals on a track he produced. “He holds it down for Colorado,” Parks said.
“I now want to develop new talent to showcase my work, and Parks is at the forefront,” Jomeezius said. “There aren’t enough words to express the connection” that he said he and Parks developed through the process.
Rafting one summer, Parks wrote the lyrics for “Highlife,” which depicts the “feeling of living in the mountains.” “No Probs” also has a Colorado vibe. The title comes from the youth perspective of “No jobs; no probs. We’re gonna find a way.” Song “Fixated” reflects on “somebody who went too far … and saw the meaning of life, the rawness of life and realness of death.” Through the song, Parks was “walking the line as a character.” His Reggae roots came in a natural flow for songs “Yaya” and “Jah Praise”.
“Rocky Mountain High,” intertwines bits of John Denver’s tune. Parks describes the song as “in-your-face,” from the perspective of a large marijuana grower, “about the high we’ve achieved in the mountains.”
When asked about the Parental Advisory for explicit contents, Parks said he raps about things that are meant to be thought provoking. The person singing is “not quite” him, but many parts of him and people he represents, “who need guidance and a way to express with balance.”
“There are very few things that give me peace in this world,” Parks said. “One of them is a high power, and another is herb; it helps me make that connection.”
He said it “really took a lot more than me” to make the album. In addition to Dogue and artist A.J. Wix, Parks gives props to Austin Hollywood (graphics and photos), and backup singer Ryan Arnold. Park said he never knew he would come across a backup singer like him.
Parks is excited. “We have a product and we have a show. That’s important.” There’s a light show with lasers, fog machine, and merchandise, and Nick Zigich is going to do sound for the shows.
Thomson jumps in at The Basement’s New Year’s Eve bash this year feat. FL8O in Winter Park. “It might get wild,” he said. Copies of “Avalanche” may be purchased at the show, and at K&J’s, Pain & Pleasure Tattoo, and on etsy.
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