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Lexington County musician to record song with band members of country music great

Lexington, SC 04/10/2024 (Paul Kirby) – For Lexington based country and Christian musician and recording artist Rich Parr, God has been in his life for many years. According to Rich though, over the last few years, God has really shown up and shown what he could do through Rich’s trust in Him. That’s why although he was surprised and delighted when he was asked to record a song with members of Ronnie Milsap’s band in Nashville, he was thankful for the Lord’s favor but not at all shocked that anything like this could happen.


For those too young to remember, Ronnie Milsap was a recording artist that was born blind. He had 35 #1 hits to his credit over his 50 years of playing country, soul, rhythm and blues, and even some rock and roll. He was an absolute master behind a piano and played with the likes of Elvis, Ray Charles, and James Brown. He hit his prime in the mid ‘70s and early ‘80s winning the Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1976 and 1977. This hot streak finally led the Academy of Country Music to name Milsap their Top Male Vocalist in 1982. Through all his hits, Milsap gathered a loyal group of talented musicians around him to act as his band. That group stayed with him until he retired in October of 2023 at the age of 80.


When Rich records in Nashville, his producer is a man named John Henrich. John is a wonderfully talented saxophone player that entertained and travelled as a part of Milsap’s band those many years. After working with Rich for some time, John began to believe that Parr’s beautiful style of singing old country tunes and Christian favorites would be a wonderful match for Ronnie Milsap’s band members. That’s when he began calling his old bandmates and asking them if they’d like to record a song. From that point, the project was greenlit, and the recording was a go.


In talking with John about Rich’s unique sound recently he said with a laugh that, “Rich’s voice is certainly rich. He doesn’t have a lot of the southern twang in his voice, and it makes for a smooth baritone sound.” He also said that Rich is easy to work with. He’ll offer suggestions and accept them as well. “Often times as a producer, you’ll run into an artist that won’t take instructions, it’s their way or the highway, even when you know their wrong. Rich is just good natured and wants to hear feedback that will make him better.”


The band members will not just be recorded accompanying Rich on Milsap’s song Back on “My Mind Again”. While this is being performed, another firm, The Pinkerton Production Company, owned by Vince Pinkerton, will be filming the whole recording session for later use.

Rich describes his music as a “Sinatra” style. To understand what a “Sinatra” style of country is, you’d need to hear Rich sing. His talents compliment both country and Christian music yet his rich tone has no twang or deep country drawl in it. Instead, it flows in a beautiful way that also seems to wrap the listener in a blanket of smoothness that is almost like a warm embrace. He is normally backed up by traditional old country instruments like a steel flattop guitar, a fiddle, acoustic and electric guitars, and has had many other artists from this genre back him up with two-part harmony. It could be just as easily described as country crooning for those looking to label his style. If you follow this link, you can here a sample of Rich Parr’s voice as he records “The Keys Are In The Mailbox.”


Although Rich is a card-carrying southerner now who has a home in Lexington and what he laughs is a “real job” in Columbia, the absence of a southern drawl might be because he was raised in New Jersey. Rebelling at a young age, Rich ran away from home and landed on the streets of New York City. There, he was often homeless and stayed in a phone booth when the weather was bad. “It wasn’t long before I realized I could make money running errands and doing small jobs for the mob. I was getting wrapped up in some very bad stuff. I also was doing secular music in some of the clubs and venues that were frequented or belonged to New York’s organized crime families.” He said that it wasn’t long before officials in New York had enough of young Rich Parr and he was sentenced to a long prison term. “That’s when I found that God was working in my life,” Rich said. “My prison sentence was miraculously reduced and when I was paroled well before my sentence was over. I began making music for God through gospel and not for the mob anymore.” He also got smart and eventually came south away from the bright lights and temptations of the city.


As time went by and life happened, Rich began to further explore how much of a blessing his voice could be. He began commuting back and forth between Columbia and Nashville as God laid out even more music success to his life. Much of his success was with gospel music.


Much later in life, Rich had the opportunity to start a live Christian program through internet streaming. Each week, his program Carolina Gospel T.V. is streamed all over the world through the Roku app of Roku branded TVs. You can also see the streaming shows through “We’ve had people from 16 countries including Russia, China, and several other smaller communist nations at this point. I have paid for all this out my pocket or with the help of several small sponsors and donations at this point. You can also catch Rich’s streaming program Pure Country nightly on the same Roku channel through Saturday starting at 8:00 p.m. nightly. Gospel streaming starts Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. and together, accept during the short period it takes to make the switch between the two genres, Rich has programming on almost 24/7/365.


Currently, Rich is working on a new album called Champagne Country that John Henrich is producing. That will be cut in June of this year with a release date in the late summer or fall of 2024. The tract with Ronnie Milsap’s band will be released on that LP as well. Rich says after its release, he will debut it on Carolina Gospel TV Network "PURE COUNTRY " afterward.


As for now, Rich is working here in Columbia and commuting back and for to Tennessee to record his music. “The past few years with the streaming programs and recording have been amazing,” he said. “I simply can’t wait to see where God is leading me next.”




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