Todd Parks is a Nashville, Tennessee based acoustic and electric bassist with a wide range of credits, now touring and recording with the Sam Bush Band. He earned his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in String Performance and Jazz Studies from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and studied with bassist Rusty Holloway, pianist Donald Brown, and drummer Keith Brown. While residing in Knoxville, Todd performed with acts such as Gran Torino, Robinella and the C.C. Stringband, JT and Saltines, and the Superfly Soundtrip. He also taught as an adjunct professor the University of TN and Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Upon completion of his Master’ s degrees in 2003, Todd moved to Nashville.
Upon arriving in Nashville, Todd quickly established himself as an in-demand sideman for artists from all over the musical map including Jack Pearson, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Justin Thompson, Daybreak, Bee Gee Adair, Jody Nardone, Steve Kovalcheck, and Shane Roberts. In the spring of 2006, Todd began playing for the Jerry Douglas Band, and has toured and recorded extensively with Douglas since. Douglas enlisted Todd’ s talents on his records Glide (which includes the Grammy nominated “ Two Small Cars in Rome” ) and Jerry Christmas! Tours and performances include a summer and a fall supporting legendary singer Paul Simon in 2006, multiple appearances on “ A Prairie Home Companion,” festivals/venues such as Telluride Bluegrass, Merlefest, the Vancouver Island Folk Festival, New York’ s famed Blue Note, and Scotland’ s Celtic Connections, performing with Douglas’ s band and the All-Star finale concerts at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall in 2007 and 2009, and touring supporting Douglas’ s Jerry Christmas along with singers Maura O’ Connell and John Oates. Todd also supported Douglas during his 2008 Artist-in-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame backing up artists such as Alison Krauss, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Maura O’ Connell, and Lloyd Green.
In the Spring of 2010, Douglas opened one more door for Todd, recommending him to mandolin legend Sam Bush. The audition went well, and Bush welcomed Todd into his flock to head out on a whole new set of adventures. Those adventures so far include playing onstage with Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain and that was just at Telluride 2010! Other highlights in the few months since joining Bush’ s band include Rocky Grass, the Newport Folk Festival, and quoting the Muppet tune “Mahna Mahna” during band introductions whenever possible.
The Upton Bass Story
Todd’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and we wish he lived closer because he’d be a true friend. Todd came into Upton Bass interested in what we do and how we do it. He played the basses, and put in his order for the bass he wanted. He never asked for an endorsement deal or started pitching his resume and “what he could do for us”. The big league guys are like that…they don’t walk in looking for a deal telling you how many basses you’ll sell because they have one…they walk in because they genuinely want to play our basses.
After spending a day at the workshop, Todd carefully made up his mind and we built him a fully carved Bostonian model – added some mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and rib bumpers and off to tour the world!
main photo credits: Shelly Swanger