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Humans of North Texas: Parker James and Caden Shea

MANSFIELD - Products of The Golden State and transplants to the DFW metroplex, brothers Parker James and Caden Shea are reviving rock ‘n’ roll—right here in North Texas.

Born in the 21st century but boasting a sound straight out of the ‘80s and ‘90s grunge rock era, Olive Vox (yes, like the vegetable) wants to bring the lyrics and riffs of old to a new generation.

“We’re hoping that we can be a part of the resurgence,” James said. “We want to bring young rock back into the world again, because there aren’t too many young people making rock music right now.”

Olive Vox members Caden Shea (left, 15) and Parker James (right, 21) look to fill a brother-sized hole in the rock music scene. Photos courtesy of Olive Vox; Credit to Tati Bruening (@Illumitati).

As is a staple experience of children across the ages, James and Shea spent countless hours in front of their parents' speakers, soaking up the sounds of generations past.

With bands like Nirvana, Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots molding their malleable, musical minds, it should come as no surprise that the brothers have already released multiple singles and a self-titled EP, toured and played coast to coast, and opened for THE Puddle of Mudd: all before they were legally allowed to drink.

James has a simple piece of advice for aspiring musicians: be original. “You don’t need to care what people think,” he said. “Don’t try to impress people, just do you. Originality is key. Photos courtesy of Olive Vox; Credit to Cameron K.

“Honestly, I wanted to start a band with Caden when he was even younger, like 8 or 9,” James said of his younger brother. “I kinda had to wait it out though, but once he got of age, we were like ‘alright, let’s hop in and do it.’”

And do it they have.

With true-to-rock songs like “Bury Me Low,” more flowery tunes like “Bloom,” and upbeat, catchy grooves like “This Is My Home,” the duo turns heads every time they step on stage.

“The response has been really positive,” Shea said. “I look forward to the post-show a lot, because people really receive us well.”

With a wide variety of moods and messages represented in their discography, Shea says he hopes people will find whatever it is they’re looking for in the sounds of Olive Vox. “However, people feel like they can connect with our songs, however they can link their emotions, that’s great,” he said. “That’s what we want.” Photos courtesy of Olive Vox; Credit to Cameron K.

As the band quickly heads down the path toward stardom, one half of the duo already lives in the limelight.

While recovering from a skateboarding accident a few years back, James found himself cast into the internet spotlight as the short, comedic videos he made to pass the time suddenly blew up on the viral social media app TikTok. To date, James has amassed a following of over 8.7 million people, but he says he wants to keep “Parker James the TikToker” and “Parker James the Musician” separate.

“The band has always been a goal of mine,” James said. “The band is gonna happen no matter what, and if social media wants to tag along, that’s fine; it wasn’t really a plan, but now it’s a factor of my life.”

Olive Vox opened its fall tour with a performance at the Levitation Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in October of 2021. Photos courtesy of Olive Vox; Credit to Bella Martinez (@peppermintgirlphotography).

There have been rumors swirling around that the brothers are in talks to sign with a major record label (for privacy I won’t say who… just know it’s big time), and when asked if there was any truth behind the talk, the duo broke out into nervous laughter.

“Without saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” James said after a moment. “We really hope so.”

So, if you’re feeling nostalgic, or if you would simply like to see the youthful hands that hold the future of rock music, Olive Vox has shows lined up at the Green Room in Tyler, Texas, on May 13, and right around the corner at the Rubber Glove here in Denton, Texas, on May 14. Throughout the weekend, the brothers will be joined on stage by Dallas-based rock band Aberdeen and rock artist Caroline Carr.

“Sky’s the limit,” James said. “We don’t want to put a limit on success, however big ‘successful’ is.”

More information on tour dates, merchandise, and streaming can be found on the official Olive Vox website.

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