“If you can take a piece of life and put it in a song,” says Jon Pardi, “it’s going to be a good song—especially if it’s from the heart.”
It’s a formula he has followed since his days learning his craft with bands in his native California, and in the years since, he has become, both on stage and in the studio, one of country music’s most exciting young performers.
Pardi and co-producer/collaborator Bart Butler have captured both the craft and the energy in an eleven-song introduction that hearkens to classic country’s best musical and lyrical elements while sounding as fresh as anything out there.
Write You A Song contains both of Pardi’s breakthrough hits—“Missin’ You Crazy” and “Up All Night”–as well as tracks that veer from pure honky-tonk and party songs to tales of love and romance. The bottom line, though, is pure, stage-worthy high energy.
“All I ever wanted to do coming to Nashville,” Pardi says with his characteristic grin, “was to write rowdy, in-your-face, straight country music, and that’s what this album is.”
The album’s title track packs the kind of punch that marks Pardi as heir to a honky-tonk line that runs through Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam, and its spare instrumentation brings a purist’s grit to heartfelt tales of road life. “What I Can’t Put Down” is an ode to the addictive nature of cigarettes, alcohol, love and, above all, music. “Trash A Hotel Room” is not, as might be expected, a tale of road excess, but rather a tale of two lovers getting back to basics, and “Happens All The Time” makes a terrific song out of a pick-up line. If there is a bit of autobiographical philosophy here, it is in “Chasin’ Them Better Days,” an infectious look at hope and dreams in the worlds of music and love. “Love You From Here” is a bluegrass-influenced break-up song with an upbeat attitude, and Pardi slows down just long enough to sing “That Man,” a moving tale of friendship-turned-love.
Life and love, truth and energy wind their way all through Write You A Song, which showcases a young artist who is clearly no ordinary newcomer, something many of his fellow artists have noted.
“People ask me who I’d like to open up for,” Pardi says with a smile, “and I tell them I’ve already been lucky enough to have opened for several artists I look up to.”
It’s a list that includes Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Luke Bryan, singers who appreciate the kind of influences Pardi brings to the table—echoes of the crisp Bakersfield sound of Owens and Merle Haggard, hints of the driving beat of Waylon Jennings and the excitement of Jerry Lee Lewis. He brings all of it together and puts his unique stamp on it, topping it off with just a bit of swagger that gives a little edge to his undeniable appeal.
Like his heroes, Pardi is a longtime road warrior, a veteran of four-set shows and constant travel, someone who brings a wealth of experience to bear every time he steps in front of a microphone. He has gone on tour with kindred spirit and labelmate Eric Church, and earned a slot on the Austin City Limits Festival, one of the country world’s most prestigious venues. His on-stage charisma and accessibility, his polished yet raucous sound, and his well-crafted and infectious songs earn him new fans wherever he goes.
The territory he covers on the CD—road life and the ups and downs of romance—has been the subject matter of many country classics through the decades, but Pardi, whose gift is a feel for atmosphere and an eye for detail, makes it all fresh and gives the project his indelible stamp.
A natural storyteller, Pardi writes what he knows, spinning tales born of his dues-paying days in the area around his native Dixon, California, and bringing it all together into a strong, cohesive musical statement.
All in all, it’s an album by an artist who knows just where his strengths lie—the excitement, experience and songwriting skills that fueled his relatively fast rise to publishing and label deals after his arrival in Nashville are all present. His one-of-a-kind voice brings a positive edge to even the toughest emotional scenarios.
“I really don’t have any negative songs,” reveals Pardi. “It always feels good with me so when you come to a show or listen to the record, you’re going to have a good time.”
It’s not hard to see where the earliest seeds of Pardi’s approach lie. His musical journey began with a grandmother who loved classic country and had a karaoke machine in the house. Young Jon developed a special fondness for Hank Jr. and the two Georges—Jones and Strait—along with Alabama, Dwight Yoakam and Mark Chesnutt. He was just 7 when he sang “Friends in Low Places” for all he was worth at his dad’s 30th birthday party at a local Legion hall.
At an even younger age, he walked out of a children’s music class and asked for guitar lessons so he could sing like his heroes. Pardi was writing songs by 12 and playing them in a band at 14. A self-confessed “class clown,” he was more interested in writing songs and playing guitar than in either sports or homework. After high school, he and buddy Chase McGrew began playing acoustically in small bars around Dickson and Winters.
“Those were some of the fun times,” Pardi shares, “and that’s when I learned that slow songs don’t go over when you’re trying to sell beer, so I learned a lot of really up, fast songs that I still like doing today.”
The two moved to Chico to go to Butte Junior College, where Pardi started the band Northern Comfort.
“We played together for three years and it was a lot of fun,” but when they disbanded temporarily, Pardi continues, “I went home and started saving money. I’d known I was going to move to Nashville since I was 19,” and after visits to Music City where he met a few people, he knew the time was right.
“You need to have a level head to move here,” he says, “to be confident enough to say, ‘I’m going to do it.” I felt like I was ready and I started out on February 23, 2008, with my mom crying as I drove away.”
Pardi took his dog, his PA system and the $7,000 he’d saved, which he claims he “went through pretty quick.” Using a credit card to pay the fee for lifeguard training, he used that new skill to earn money until he landed a publishing deal, just 18 months after moving. Two of his first collaborations, “Write You A Song” and “Fighting The Fool,” were instrumental in landing him his publishing deal, and he took full advantage of the opportunity to write for money.
“I did a lot of co-writing,” he says. “There were a lot of headache mornings but I still showed up, and a lot of good songs came on days like that.”
As demos he wrote and sang started making the rounds on Music Row, label execs, including those at Capitol Records, began asking, “Who is this Jon Pardi?”
Industry vets Autumn House and Nathan Nicholson played an instrumental role in Pardi landing his first major record deal. With their encouragement and direction, “we started doing showcases,” explains Pardi. “On about the third one we did with the full band, Mike Dungan (CEO Capitol Records Nashville) gave me a handshake afterward and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
As they talked about potential producers, Pardi suggested that he and his friend and collaborator Bart Butler, who had done the demos that had brought him this far, do the album.
“They [Capitol Records] said all right, we cut four songs and they loved them,” Pardi shares. “Then we went back in and finished it up.”
The key from his perspective, he says, is “knowing what you want. I had what I wanted to sound like in my head. It’s what made doing the demos and then the record so much fun. You take a piece of this influence and a bit of that and make it your own. So much happens in the studio if you’ve got your lyric and song melody down.”
Given the quality of his heroes, the strength of his talent and the depth of his experience, the album became just the right showcase. From there, he says, “it’s about surrounding yourself with great people. If you show Nashville you’ve got talent and if you do it right, they’ll help you make that talent even better and help you get it out there.”
Life perspective gives his success a special sweetness.
“I know I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing,” he says appreciatively. “I could be back working construction or installing air conditioners in an attic that’s at 115 degrees. There are a lot of people who work awfully hard to make a dollar. I’m glad the hard work I’m doing now goes into something I love this much. It makes me really happy to be here doing music.”
As he makes his mark on a national level, that’s a feeling being shared by more and more new Jon Pardi fans.
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 3rd, 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.
For Labor Day Liners, click here.
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.”
Brandon Lay (Labor Day) OC: …a good one. :13
“You know, I can’t complain too much about Labor Day, ‘cause usually doing landscaping and it had slowed down a little, but the water’s still warm enough to hit the river. I’ve gotten to spend some time out on the lake for Labor Day, so Labor Day’s a good one.”
Carrie Underwood (Labor Day) OC: …born to do. :59
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad job. I’ve had hard jobs. I’ve had jobs that worked random hours. My first job was at a gas station, and that was a lot of fun actually. While I was working at the gas station, I took another job at a hotel down the street. There was nobody else working there. I had one day of training and then the next day I came in, and the lady that had worked there the longest and was training me just didn’t show. So, the second day at work I was now in charge ‘cause I was now the senior member that was working at the hotel. So, I feel like that one was really challenging to figure my way through it, but I did. My best job is definitely what I do now. I really like being on stage. I really like performing for people and just having fun and singing, because that’s what I feel like I was born to do.”
Clare Dunn (Labor Day) OC: …had to do. 1:05
“I was coming for school. I remember I was two weeks late for school [at Belmont], because I had stayed in Texas longer to drive a silage truck for harvest. Harvest was still going on and I needed the money, so I stayed down there. I called all my professors. I explained what I was doing. I said, ‘I’m not going to be there for the first two weeks.’ They all were very, I told them why, and they were all very accepting of that. So, I got home. I was worn out from driving this truck in Texas, and I remember getting home in like the morning or the night before and I left the next day. I literally just chucked as much stuff in a U-haul as I could, and my family was helping me get it all ready while I was on the truck. I remember, everybody cried. I’m probably gonna cry just talking about it, because it was so many unknowns, and I just drove myself out to Tennessee. It was very emotional for me, obviously, just seeing that Tennessee state line sign and being scared to death, but knowing that’s what I had to do.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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…”
Travis Denning (Labor Day) OC: …right for it. :13
“I’ve always played music. I mean, my first gig was when I was 16-years-old. That was what I did. And as soon as I found out I could make money doing it, I thought I’d much rather make money doing this than anything else, so I went right for it.”
LINER Billy Currington (Labor Day)
Hey y’all! It’s Billy Currington, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Brandon Lay (Labor Day)
Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Brothers Osborne (Labor Day)
This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Carrie Underwood (Labor Day Weekend)
Hey everyone! I’m Carrie Underwood, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Clare Dunn (Labor Day)
Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, and I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Darius Rucker (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Darius Rucker, and I hope you have a have a happy work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Eric Church (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Eric Church, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Eric Paslay (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Eric Paslay, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Jon Pardi (Labor Day weekend)
Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Jordan Davis (Labor Day)
Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Kacey Musgraves (Labor Day weekend)
Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Keith Urban (Labor Day weekend)
Hi everybody! This is Keith Urban, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Kip Moore (Labor Day)
Hey—what’s happening guys? This is Kip Moore, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day Weekend.
LINER LBT (Labor Day)
Hi! We’re Little Big Town, hoping you have a work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Luke Bryan (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Maddie & Tae (Labor Day)
Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Sam Hunt (Labor Day)
Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Have a great and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Travis Denning (Labor Day)
Hey y’all. It’s Travis Denning, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Jon Pardi has released his new single, “Night Shift,” from his hit album, California Sunrise. Jon describes the tune as a “working man’s love song.”
“He’s been working all day, he’s going to go work a night shift with his lady,” says Jon. “And it’s just a fun idea of taking like a work term and making a love story out of it. And I loved the beat — ‘It’s been a wreck me week.’ It’s just a really strong – when you start singing you can just feel it. And it came out really good recorded and it’s one of my favorites too.”
Jon is on the road with Luke Bryan on the What Makes You Country Tour. He’s set to play Pasa Robles on Thursday (July 26th) followed by Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday (July 28th).
It’s definitely a new style for me to kind of deliver this real kind of sexy but cool and very – it’s got a good enough touch for a lady but also a strong enough kind of sense of songs for men to listen to, growing men, college kids. But it’s definitely a little bit of everything. But ‘Night Shift,’ I always say is the working man’s love song. He’s been working all day, he’s going to go work a night shift with his lady. And it’s just a fun idea of taking like a work term and making a love story out of it. And I loved the beat — ‘It’s been a wreck me week.’ It’s just a really strong – when you start singing you can just feel it. And it came out really good recorded and it’s one of my favorites too.”