Eric Paslay definitely knows how to craft a hit song. Jake Owen, Love and Theft and the Eli Young Band have all scored No. 1 singles thanks to Paslay’s songwriting prowess, but fans who have seen him on stage will testify there is so much more to the tall, Texas redhead than his excellent songwriting chops. Paslay is a charismatic performer and a potent vocalist who knows how to connect with an audience. As his single “Friday Night” reached the No. 1 spot, Paslay has arrived as an artist in his own right.
“Friday Night,” Paslay’s first No. 1 single as an artist, serves as an inviting preview to his EMI Records Nashville debut album, a vibrant collection of songs that cover a wide expanse of emotional territory from the aching ballad “She Don’t Love You” to the clever up tempo “Song About A Girl” and the poignant, uplifting “Deep As It Is Wide.” Working with producers Marshall Altman, Daniel Hill and Billy Lynn, Paslay has created a colorful sonic landscape. “Life isn’t always the same heartbeat so I don’t want to have an album of songs at the same tempo,” Paslay says of the musical and lyrical diversity displayed on his eponymous debut. “Every song has a shimmer of everyone’s life in it from the memories of falling in love to living with someone for the rest of your life and knowing that there’s something at the end of the tunnel to live for. Some of it is not too deep and some of it is.”
Therein lies Paslay’s charm. He is a deep thinker and soulful philosopher capable of shooting a lyric straight into your heart and making you catch your breath, but he is also witty, playful and equally skilled at getting the party started. He is the guy other men want to have a beer with and all the girls want to take home for Sunday dinner. His engaging, enigmatic personality shines through in all his songs from “Less Than Whole,” a powerful treatise on forgiveness and redemption that he penned with Big Kenny to the sultry, sexy romp “Good With Wine,” a great date song.
Paslay creates music that becomes part of the soundtrack of people’s lives, and in doing so he has helped shaped the sound of today’s country radio. Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” which Paslay wrote with Dylan Altman and Terry Sawchuk, was named ASCAP’s 2012 Country Song of the Year. The Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” written by Paslay and Will Hoge, was nominated for a 2013 GRAMMY for Best Country Song and CMA Song Of The Year in 2012. He also co-wrote Love and Theft’s No. 1 hit “Angel Eyes,” as well as Rascal Flatt’s new single “Rewind.” He has also penned tunes for many other artists among them Amy Grant, Donny & Marie Osmond and Lady Antebellum. His distinctive voice has also earned him some pretty substantial fans. Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers have sought him out to record duets, and Amy Grant recruited Paslay to join her and Sheryl Crow when she covered Paslay’s “Deep As It Is Wide” on her latest album.
It all started for Paslay when he began playing guitar and writing songs at 15. “I wrote a poem for a girl,” he recalls with a grin. “I never gave it to her and then I discovered that most songs are poems, so I just put a melody and chords to the poem and there was my first song. By the time I was 16, I’d already made a CD on my home computer of about 10 or 11 songs that I played out around Texas. Those records will come back and haunt me someday, but I know there are little jewels in there. I’m glad that I wasn’t too afraid to put it out there, just to start creating music and sharing it with people.”
Born in Abilene, Texas and raised in Waco and Temple, Paslay has always loved music, but his original intent was to become a pediatric endocrinologist. “I have diabetes and I thought I could help kids with diabetes because I could relate to them and talk to them,” he says, but music has always been in his blood. “My granddad was a musician. He and his brothers had a band called Arnold Schiller and the Moonlight Serenaders. My grandfather was Arnold, and they played at dance halls. I was two and a half when he died. The first time I played the Grand Ole Opry, I closed my eyes and thought of him.”
When Paslay moved to Nashville to pursue a music career, his first stop was Middle Tennessee State University where he majored in music business. He became president of MTSU’s student chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). He recruited top Music Row writers to speak at the university. He also volunteered for anything just to get his foot further in the door and did everything from help out at a charity golf tournament to change light bulbs in the NARAS office, a feat made easier because of his 6’4” height. “I’d just go help anywhere I could because I thought if you have a job to do and you do it well, then if they let you be creative and make a record, at least they know you’re going to do it well,” Paslay says. “They’ll know you are going to put all your mind, strength and skill into doing whatever job they give you.”
An internship at publishing company Cal IV Entertainment proved to be a valuable step for the budding songwriter. He not only learned about the publishing business, but the craft of songwriting, eventually landing his own deal with the Cal IV in 2006. His songwriting and his impressive voice began garnering attention from labels and he signed with EMI Records Nashville.
Though he is appreciative of his cuts by other artists, Paslay says the reason he began writing songs is because he wanted to sing them for people. “I turn it on when I get on stage. I love to entertain,” says Paslay, who has opened for Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Little Big Town, among others. “The songs on this record are the ones that really connect when I play them live. When I write, I’d rather there be a little bit of hope in every song, even in the sad songs. There is still hope in there. With all the negativity everywhere these days, I’d like the positive to come out. A song can give you a little boost in confidence or make you fall in love deeper or dream higher. I’m not writing and singing this stuff to be cool. I was never the cool kid. I was the kid standing in the back of the room watching.”
These days Eric Paslay has moved from the back of the room to center stage. “It’s like someone flipped a switch on and people know what I do now,” he says with a smile, “but the coolest thing is there’s always that moment that you dream of when you have a hit song and you can stop singing and the audience keeps singing it. With ‘Friday Night,’ that’s started to happen. I’ll sing ‘I want to be your…’ and I’ll point to the crowd and they’ll go ‘Friday Night!’ That’s one of those moments that every kid dreams about – singing a song and the crowd knows it so well that they sing it back to you. You get to sing it together. I’m glad I’m getting to experience that as a performer. To have a hit that radio has played so much that people are singing back to you, it’s pretty cool.”
Words are still hard to come by, emotions and unfamiliar feelings are flooding our hearts and souls and trying to process the horrific tragedy at the Rt. 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night (October 1st) is still something that we can’t quite do and which will affect us the rest of our lives. The Country Music family, community, fans and friends around the world have been shaken to the core by the devastating carnage from Sunday night.
It has taken days for me to post the following:
Eric Church performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Wednesday night (October 4th) and spoke eloquently and passionately about Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas. He was one of the headliners at the Route 91 Harvest Festival and painted the picture of the fans who attended the festival. He dedicated “Why Not Me,” a song he wrote this week, to Sonny Melton, the Paris, Tennessee man who died protecting his wife from the bullets that were being sprayed into the crowd of festivalgoers. Check out the videos below.
Woke up to such horrible news. We are praying for the victims and their families. May the Lord bring some comfort to them.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) October 2, 2017
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 4, 2017
Absolutely heartbroken and crushed by what happened in LV. That crowd was so full of love. Deepest condolences to the victims and families.
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) October 2, 2017
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) October 2, 2017
To every person that has or will ever come to our shows… we love you so much. In tears right now. We deeply appreciate every one of you.
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) October 3, 2017
Words can't begin explain my sadness. My family and I are praying for the victims of this tragedy. Truly heartbroken.
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) October 2, 2017
Praying for everyone at Route 91. That crowd was one of the best I've played for all year. This news is devastating. My camp is home & safe.
— Lauren Alaina (@Lauren_Alaina) October 2, 2017
— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) October 2, 2017
While he performed “Here On Earth” the other morning for a national radio show, he’s also healing folks by talking to them and really listening to them, as well as giving much needed blood to the American Red Cross.
First smile in two days thanks to being around other donors and great people @americanredcross #redcross @fiddlindan. I haven’t really been able to function at all since the shooting. such deep sorrow. sadness. heavy and dark. My relationship with country music fans, as well as my band and my crew’s relationship with them, is something we all cherish so deeply. some of those friendships have been forged for well over a decade. my heart breaks over and over again for all those fans in Las Vegas and their families.
We are devastated by the news from Las Vegas this morning. Our hearts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy. Our fans are our family – we love you all. pic.twitter.com/k0CiL1THlu
— Lady Antebellum (@ladyantebellum) October 2, 2017
— Lady Antebellum (@ladyantebellum) October 5, 2017
Praying for all the country music fans, their families and first responders involved in the tragedy in Las Vegas last night.
— Alan Jackson (@OfficialJackson) October 2, 2017
— Jon Pardi (@JonPardi) October 2, 2017
Heartbroken over the news of Vegas. My thoughts with all the innocent victims and their families x
— Shania Twain (@ShaniaTwain) October 2, 2017
JUST HEARING ABOUT VEGAS. Noooooooo 💔 Heartbroken for Vegas + the country community. Numbingly terrifying. Wtf.
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) October 2, 2017
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) October 2, 2017
I'm thankful many of my brothers & sisters in the business are safe but my heart is broken for those killed/injured in the Vegas shooting.
— Josh Turner (@joshturnermusic) October 2, 2017
My heart is completely broken for everyone in Vegas last night. My thoughts and prayers for everyone who had to go thru this. Heartbroken 😞
— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) October 2, 2017
#Repost @giveanhour ・・・ In response to the attack in Las Vegas, Give an Hour will provide free mental health support and counseling (face to face, tele-health or by telephone) for survivors, families of those affected by the attack and first responders. We are working to activate our network of nearly 7,000 mental health care providers to assess and provide support for those who have experienced unspeakable trauma this week. To learn more about receiving care or find out about how you can help, visit our website: giveanhour.org Read the full press release: http://bit.ly/GAHLasVegas #LasVegas #MentalHealth #Recovery
— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) October 8, 2017
To the victims of the shooting and their loved ones, our hearts and prayers go out you at this most tragic time. pic.twitter.com/5L6PX9VXiQ
— Clare Dunn (@ClareDunnMusic) October 2, 2017
Keith Urban (Candlelight Vigil) OC: …in the world. 1:23
“I I want to firstly offer the prayers and love of my whole family to everybody affected by last night’s horrific tragedy. I started this morning by finding out about it, and being shell-shocked all morning getting my kids ready for school. And our nine-year-old, as I was driving her to school this morning, said to, ‘Dad, you seem quiet.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it was a lot of people killed last night.’ She said, ‘Did you know any of them?’ I said, ‘Not that I know of.’ Then she said, ‘Well, why are you so sad?’ I said, ‘Well, first of all, these were innocent people horrifically taken. Secondly, they’re like family.’ It’s the one thing about country music that’s always been at the center of it. It is community. It’s about community. So, I did know those people in that way, and it just really hit me. I feel very grateful for this moment tonight to be able to put some light in the world.”
Keith Urban (Candlelight Vigil) OC: …in the world. 1:23
Vince Gill (Candlelight Vigil) OC: …innocent people. :17
“Thank you for the opportunity to come and lift up 58 families who lost somebody last night. An honor to be here as a voice for the innocent. May we never lose our voice for innocent people.”
Vince Gill (Candlelight Vigil) OC: …innocent people. :17
Amy Grant (Candlight Vigil) OC: …each other. Amen. 2:21
“Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of each other. Thank you that none of us is born alone or dies alone. But you go before us and beneath us and beside us and within us. Thank you for loving arms that were there to catch every fallen child, man and woman. Thank you for your presence that never leaves us. Thank you for word said over and over again, ‘Fear not.’ ‘Fear not.’ Father, in silence, we lift up, we just imagine all of the people rebuilding their lives. Broken. Grieving. And as a group, I don’t even know how to imagine lifting them all up, but I’m just picturing us almost like slinging them on our backs, lifting them up in our arms to the light of your love. We lift them up now, God, in silence. We lift up grieving spouses, God. We lift up moms and dads grieving the loss of a child, a son and a daughter. We lift up the doctors and nursing attending to the hundreds of people recovering. Give us the grace, God, every day, to see each other. To see each other. To see our differences. To see our similarities. To observe. To learn rather than judge. Fill our hearts with courage to not be afraid. To love, love, love. Thank you that you began this story that we’re all a part of, and you will finish it. And it began in love, and it will end in love. Thank you for the gift of each other. Amen.”
Amy Grant (Candlight Vigil) OC: …each other. Amen. 2:21
Keith Urban’s Ripcord took home the Top Selling Album of the Year trophy at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards, which were held in Saskatoon, SK on Sunday night (September 10th). The award goes to the highest-selling non-Canadian album. Eric Paslay presented Single of the Year on the televised show.
Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban are among this year’s CMT Artists of the Year. What’s special about the CMT Artists of the Year is that the honorees are recognized by their fellow peers through speeches and never-before-seen footage played throughout the evening. One-night only performances also fill the Schermerhorn Symphony Center halls as duets and collaborations take over the stage. Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line will also be honored. The 2017 CMT Artists of the Year special will air live from Nashville October 18th at 8pm ET on CMT.
Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt played an acoustic show for a small group of people at Fontanel, located North of Nashville, according to CMT.com. The two superstars performed as part of the Songs on a Mission fundraising dinner for Mission Lazarus, an organization that assists people around the world. The event raised more than $630,000 for the group’s Honduran orphanage.
Chris Stapleton is scheduled to perform at the all-star A Concert for Charlottesville later this month. Dave Matthews Band will headline the show at UVA Scott Stadium, while Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, Cage the Elephant, The Roots and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes will also perform. Free tickets will initially go to the residents of Charlottesville, Virginia (the location in which violent white nationalist rallies took place last month) for the show taking place September 24th.
Kacey Musgraves and Mickey Guyton give their thoughts on the legendary Patsy Cline in a new DVD celebrating her remarkable life and music. When Patsy Cline Was…Crazy will be available October 6th. Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Bill Anderson, Callie Khouri and many more will also be featured.
For many decades, Labor Day was seen as a day for workers to voice their complaints and discuss better working conditions and pay.
U.S. Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, and on Monday, September 4th, we will once again celebrate the people in every occupation whose work and dedication make this nation great. Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.
Labor Day weekend also signals the unofficial end to summer, and many of the hottest country stars are taking a look back at some of the toughest jobs they had prior to making their mark in music or talking about their dream job now.
AJ (working people songs) OC: … appreciate that. :28
“I’ve always written songs and recorded songs, other people’s songs, about workin’ people, and workin’, the workin’ life ’cause I mean, that’s where I’m from. I mean, I worked…I’d already had jobs and worked as a grown person before I ever even thought about bein’ in the music business, so I come from that background, and…although I hadn’t had a job in a long time (laughs), I still remember a lot about it, you know, and I remember what the lifestyle is, and I still appreciate that.”
Billy Currington (Labor Day) OC: …record deal. :40
“I started working like at [age] 12, landscaping. This was summer, every summers, and roofing. I started when I was about 16 roofing houses, and that was probably one of my toughest jobs because down there in South Georgia, it gets hot, so doing that every day all summer long. The pawn shop when I moved to Nashville was one of my favorites, even though it was one of my least favorites. The concrete job was my least favorite of all – six years of that, and I couldn’t take it no more. After that job, that was my turning point. Either I’m going to do something else for a living [laughs] or quit and try to really focus on music and get this record deal.”
Canaan Smith (worst jobs) OC: …of that. [laughs] :54
“I’ve had some terrible jobs. I was a janitor for a while, and I mopped floors, vacuums all kinds of, picking up dog poop, taking out trash, just basically somebody’s beyatch [laughs], that was my job. I did that for two-and-a-half years before I signed a publishing deal. Before that, actually my very first job, I got fired from. It was some sort of candy/chocolate store. My mom dropped me off one time, and I went to work and I was like I think I can do this, and then two shifts later I just didn’t show up because I didn’t understand the concept of having to look at a schedule to see when you come in. I just didn’t show. I just thought they’d call me, ‘Hey, we need you to come in.’ I didn’t know. I was 15 years old, and never worked and that kind of stuff. I always cut grass when I was a kid and cleaned golf clubs – whatever I could do to make some money. But, yeah, I got fired from my first job. I’m pretty proud of that.” [laughs]
Darius Rucker (Labor Day) OC: …pizza. :15
“I was fifteen, and I worked at a pizza place, and the guy decided that at fifteen, that I could not only clean the floors and wash the dishes, but I also had to make pizza. So, for two months, he taught me how to make pizza.”
Dierks Bentley (Labor Day) OC: …generosity. :26
“Personally, the fans give me amazement. That’s the only word to really sum it up. I look out in the crowd, you know, usually see a lot of faces and fans are cheering. I know each one of these like from the road-the signs are from California…Michelle and Kayla live up in the Ohio area. They’re all, I just see them, and I’m like, ‘Wow!,’ they’re all from different regions. You know when you’re in a different region of the country and you just see certain fans. These people are way more hard core than I am, and I’m just amazed by their generosity.”
Eric Church (Labor Day-odd jobs) OC: …bought at 2am. 1:27
“I had an awful job. I’ve had a lot of awful jobs…my worst one was when I first came to Nashville. I got a job at the Shop at Home Network. I worked midnight, graveyard, midnight to eight. That was bad enough but then I would work all night, go home, shower and then I had writing appointments all day because I was trying to get a career started. I’d go write songs and get meetings just trying to get signed. And end up getting done at 3 of 4 with all of that, I’d go home, take a shower or sleep for a little bit and then I had to be at work again at midnight. So the schedule was bad enough, however, what I had to do at the job…I sold knives from midnight to 7 or 8am. And, anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4am and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation. And I just, I was young and I’d been in a lot of these people’s shoes, I had done this…I knew they were drunk. I knew what they had done. They’d just come home from the bar, flipped on Shop at Home and said, ‘You know what? I need that.’ So the reason the job didn’t last long for me is that I was maybe the worst salesmen in history because I ended up talking a lot of these people out of it, I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’ Because I knew what was going to happen, you know. They bought 200 knives for $19.95…first of all some of these people you didn’t know whether you should call the cops. What do you need 200 knives for? Even though I’m selling them…what do you need them for? So, it was awful doing that job. And then they got rid of me because, they were like, ‘You’re the worst. I can’t believe you’re talking people out of it.’ I was like, ‘Man I know…I’ve been there.’ [laughs] I’d want some to talk me out of buying some of the stuff I’ve bought at 2am.”
Eric Paslay (Labor Day) OC: …could print. :34
“My first official job was working at a screen printing place in Texas during the summer in a metal building that had no AC. We printed on fanny packs – really cool — and these other little bags. And it was eye doctors that, some company if you bought supplies through them, they’d put your logo on fanny packs for your customers to put in a drawer somewhere. Fanny packs are cool, if you like ‘em. You know, we’d like time ourselves to see how many fanny packs you could print.”
Jon Pardi (Labor Day) OC: …so bored! :17
“The worst job I ever had was at Hometown Grocery Store. I didn’t want to work. I was 15, and I did not want to work at the grocery store. Bagging was fun, but they sent me down the aisles to pull up cans and turn ‘em around and face ‘em, and I would just get so bored!”
Jordan Davis (Labor Day) OC: …worst job. :41
“[My] worst job was probably whenever I got out of school I started working for an environmental group in Baton Rouge, and I was doing actual environmental work at first. I went to my boss probably about four months in and told him that I was going to move to Nashville and write songs. Luckily enough, he let me stay on, but I became the weedeater guy for the landscaping side of the business. I seriously weedeated eight hours a day. The only break I would get would be in-between yard to yard. So, like we would be in the car and I would try to doze off for like 10 minutes. I was covered in grass in the middle of the summer in Baton Rouge. It was awful. That was definitely the worst job.”
Kip Moore (Labor Day-worst job) OC: …than that. :21
“I’d have to say my worst job ever was laying sod in the south Georgia heat. There’s nothing than that, especially when somebody would think that you’re waiting for the next sod patch to be thrown to you and you got your back turned, and all of a sudden, that big ole piece of sod hits you right on the back. You got nowhere to clean up, and you’re just stuck with dirt on your back for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get any worse than that.”
Keith Urban (Labor Day) OC: …amazing. :22
“Seeing people connect to the music is absolutely, hands-down the biggest reward for me, especially when you go to a place you’ve never been to before and it’s all these people, I mean lots of people out there. You’ve never met a single one of ‘em and they’re singing every word, and you realize that it’s not just a pretty melody and everything, but they get the songs. It’s amazing.”
Lady A (Labor Day) OC: …I had a lot of crummy jobs. :31
CK “I used to…” HS: “… knock out asbestos walls.” CK: “I did that for a long time. But even before that, I used to do lawn care every summer. Oh, man, I do not miss that. Just glad those days are over. I get out here and play music for a living. It’s a lot more fun. But yeah, I used to do that, and I used to work as a bag boy at a golf course once. I did that for a couple of summers. I had a lot of crummy jobs.”
Luke Bryan (Labor Day-jobs) OC: …Nashville… 1:07
“At age 12 thru 13, I worked at Rubos IGA Supermarket in Leesburg, GA. I worked during the summers on Monday and Tuesday. I stocked and cleaned up the produce. They paid me under the table…I peeled off all of the brown lettuce. Let’s see, when I was 15, I was a cashier at K-Mart for two months. I worked at K-Mart for two months, and then I reverted back to Rubos because it didn’t really make sense for me to drive all the way into Albany and work for K-Mart. The benefits were great though-you’d get an hour-long on the blue light special. So I started back at Rubos, and then I quit Rubos and worked for my Dad-just awful just driving tractors through cotton all day, and spraying pesticides that eventually would turn your hair green. And then at some point, I started playing guitar. And well, after college I went back and worked for my dad and continued to spray and haul fertilizer around. And then I moved to Nashville…”