Few artists evoke a strong sense of overwhelming realism with their songwriting and music than Dustin Parker. Parker grew up in Memphis in the ‘60s when Vietnam, racial unrest and the space race would be enough to fill any songwriter's coffer. But for Parker most of that decade’s newsworthy events passed him by due to his love of music and the guitar. In his early teens, he secured a part time job at Trans Maximum Studios in Memphis running for coffee and cleaning up the studio after the bands, etc. This proved to be a rewarding experience. Parker honed his songwriting and production skills there while soaking up as much as he could from music legends Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn (formerly with Booker T. And The MG’s and The Blues Brothers). He eventually landed his first songwriting job working as a staff songwriter for Stax in Memphis.
Parker left Memphis in the late ‘70s and spent the ‘80s songwriting and touring the United States, including tours with The Allman Brothers, America and Jerry Lee Lewis. In the early ‘80s, Parker found himself in California about a decade late and a dollar short. It was there he met Chicago native Steve Goodman. Goodman told Parker he should try moving to Chicago. Parker booked a weekend in the Windy City and it changed his career and his life forever. He quickly became a staple on the Chicago music scene where popular radio personalities embraced Parker and praised his songwriting.
In 1987, Parker’s release of “Catch A Heart” received rave reviews from both Billboard and Cash Box Magazines. In 1993, Parker fired again with his album Audiographs getting more great reviews and extensive airplay on Chicago’s WLUP and WXRT. In 1994, Parker inked a five album deal with Atlantic Records. Half way through the first album, due to production differences, Parker wanted out. A costly move on Parker’s part, but one that he felt was necessary.
Parker’s writing travels through all life styles of the American people. He’s not a politician. He’s not rich nor a pauper. But the words he expresses in his tales show a true sense of ethical and moral value that is hard to find in this day and age. He is traditional rock and roll at its best.
In 1994 the Illinois Entertainer commented, “Why Parker isn’t a VH1 standard is beyond us.” In 1997 Showcase Music Magazine wrote, “The Chicago based Dustin Parker Band plays good old small town American blue collar rock and roll and they do it with much skill and expertise.” They compared Parker’s writing to that of John Hiatt or John Mellancamp and also wrote, “‘The Coralville Incident’ off Parker’s new album Centerville on MAD Records is the song Sammy BoDean has been trying to write for years”.
Audiences in America’s clubs, festivals, and colleges have enjoyed the band’s energetic performances. The band’s extensive song list of choice covers and great originals has something for everyone. With a new CD on MAD Records, Tales From Centerville, the future looks bright for the Dustin Parker Band. His peers and critics alike will agree, singer/ songwriter Dustin Parker is an American original.