There’s more to the La Plata County Fair this year with the addition of a concert Friday (Aug. 11) at the Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena.
Park, from Austin, Texas, began his career as a teenager and has opened for some of country music’s heavy-hitters, including Clint Black and George Strait.
I had the chance to talk to Park about his dream collaboration, playing in front of big crowds and combating boredom as a teen.
Q: You started performing when you were 15 – how old are you now?
A: I’m 32 now, so I’ve been playing over half my life. I definitely got an early start, but I didn’t have my own band until I was around 20. I started touring around Texas and Oklahoma a lot when I was 20, 21, and I haven’t slowed down since.
Q: You’ve opened for a lot of people and performed with a lot of cool people. Do you have anyone you’d love to play with?
A: Two of my biggest heroes are Clint Black and George Strait, and I’ve opened up for both of those guys before. I’d love to play with Alan Jackson, that’d be great. I’m a huge fan of ’90s country music, so it would probably be a lot of those guys. But then again, these days, to me, to be in front of a big crowd in general – just put me in front of the biggest crowd possible, that’s who I want to open up for. I love the challenge, I love the energy, the size of the crowd – the more the better for me.
Q: What’s the biggest show you’ve played?
A: I know I’ve played for 10,000 a couple of times, we played for 7,000 or so in Europe a few years back.
Q: Do you get nervous?
A: No. I get anxious. I get anxiety, not like I freak out. Sometimes, I get that feeling in my stomach – I’m just so anxious to play. It feels like nerves, but it’s not. Once I step on the stage, everything goes away and I’m so happy to be there. I’m just anxious to get out there and perform. I really don’t get stage fright, I don’t get star struck; maybe it’s because I’ve been doing it since I was 15, but maybe it’s because I’m meant to do it.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I took lessons when I was 10, I think. It didn’t take; I didn’t like guitar at all. Later on, my dad passed when I was 12, and I think around 14, I picked up the guitar again.
I’m no psychiatrist, but I bet it’s some kind of grieving method of just dealing with things and coping. I was in my room by myself; my brother had his life, and he was driving around town. I lived out in the country, and I just picked up the guitar, and I remember just the challenge of learning it. Out of passion for music and I guess boredom in a funny way … because I couldn’t do it now; I tried to learn fiddle a few years back; it was just so much harder because I don’t have time. I think that’s the problem with most people now; you have to be fearless and no responsibility and just dive straight in.
Q: So you’ve never looked back?
A: No, never.