“If you’re really lucky in this world, you’ll be born in the country and at an early age someone will give you a guitar and you will play it with your fingers that’s what it’s all about." - Chet Atkins
My name is Parker Hastings. I am 16 years old and I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I am from Central Kentucky where there is a deep heritage of country, folk, and bluegrass music. Although no one in my family plays guitar, it is always something that I wanted to do. I started playing guitar at age 6, but I didn't always play with my fingers. I went to my first Tommy Emmanuel concert when I was 8 and my life changed forever. I had never seen or heard anyone get those types of sounds out of a guitar and I knew that was the style of music I wanted to play.
I really didn't know how exactly to get my thumb working independently from my fingers but fortunately I met a man named Adrian Hughes, a long time thumbpicker originally from Eastern Kentucky who introduced me to the songs of Chet, Merle Travis, and Jerry Reed. He was very gracious in passing those songs down in order to get my thumb going. Since that time, I continue to have a lot of great teachers and mentors along the way that have given me an unquenchable thirst for great melodies, jazz, and blues. I continue to work on thumbpicking and fingerstyle guitar to help my repertoire grow and continue to create my own unique sound. My style ranges from Glenn Miller to Chet Atkins to Earth Wind and Fire. Even though some people consider those old songs, they are new to me and definitely fun to play. I have won numerous guitar contests, one of them being the International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition. I was the youngest person to win Grand Champion in 2014 winning both traditional and contemporary categories. In addition, I was also inducted to the National Thumbpicker's Hall of Fame three years in a row with the title of 2014 “Horizon Award,” 2015 NTHF “Thumbpicker of the Year,” and 2016 "Recording of the Year"
I am excited to see what comes next and hope to take full advantage of opportunities that come my way. I have released my first recording project - "Whimsical Smiles". It is a recording that is a combination of original tunes, some that I arranged, and a couple of classic thumbpicking favorites of mine. I still pinch myself when I think about Tommy Emmanuel sharing his time to make a very special guest appearance on my arrangement of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile". Dreams really do come true!