“The thing that makes a Jon Pardi song isn’t what you think,” cautions the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music award-winner. “It isn’t all drinking, and partying, and cowboy stuff. So many neon songs we turned down – and there’s still plenty of neon on here – but it’s gotta be something different and say something more.”


With Mr. Saturday Night, 14 songs steeped in losing, a little loving and what’s in between, the California-born and raised honky tonker considers a recording three years in the making. For the 37-year-old showman, who takes his time to create a true album, music that matters should never be rushed.


“I always remember when a Strait record came out, I was so excited,” Pardi begins. “You count the days ‘til you can get it; then when it’s finally out, you live inside every note. I still listen to those albums today. It taught me to make something that stands the test of time – which means slowing down. When people just eat music every week for the next TikTok craze, those who love real music keep listening.”


A classic old school country record, Mr. Saturday Night digs beneath the surface in new ways as it returns the genre to an era of buckle-polishing dancefloor encounters, yowling bar-room revelers and the occasional strong, silent type ballad. Along the way, David Ball, Keith Whitley, Brooks & Dunn, the Eagles, Buck Owens, Gary Stewart, Merle Haggard and the Red Dirt vanguard of “Ragweed, Charlie Robison, Chris Knight and Randy Rogers” inform the songs.


From the breezy, falling-in-love California shimmer “Santa Cruz,” the erotic slink of denial “Your Heart Or Mine,” the open plains tough guy surrender “Hung the Moon,” or the romping “Fill ’Er Up,” Pardi moves through all the gears of country and Western with an ease unseen in today’s Nashville.


“The true sound is not having the band play something you think you want, but play what’s your sound,” he laughs. “It’s who you are, not something you’re trying to be. With this music, it’s what I was born and raised on, what all my memories are made of. California’s got its own kind of country, kinda like Texas – and when the dust settles, really, they’re cousins.”


Pardi Country, beyond plenty of drinks and the whirling fiddles, has a toughness to it; it’s a guy’s guy take on working hard, loving hard and facing the consequences like a man. If it’s not always easy, it’s reality – and that reality is what forged Haggard or Johnny Cash’s place in the music.


“I’ve been writing so long in town, the writers all know me,” says Pardi. “They know it’s gotta have some backbone and some grit, but I’m also not just a tough guy. I’m someone in a relationship a woman can trust to be there and support her.”


That attitude tempers “Last Night Lonely,” the straight-forward walk-up that suggests a man worth keeping, or the slow fiddle-laced late-night encounter “Neon Light Speed.” On the Strait-invoking “Day I Stop Dancing” pledge of love eternal, Pardi demonstrates alternative ways to signal devotion.


Just as he’s still throwing the good timing party – the tumbling “Workin’ On A New One” that punctures swearing off hangovers, or the double break-up “New Place To Drink” with its signature ‘90s Brent Mason guitar licks – he’s found the undertow to those throwdowns. Rather than just drink and drown, the new album from the unrepentant Cali-tonker acclaimed by The New York Times, Cowboys & Indians, Variety, Rolling Stone, NPR and the Los Angeles Times explores what drives those hardcore Friday and Saturday nights.


“I feel like the country music I listened to trained me that this is what we do when we’re lonely or going out. It’s what life sounds like, and how you carry it around with you,” offers the man whose “Dirt On My Boots” was a CMA Song and Single of the Year nominee. “Lonely is a great feeling, a great songwriting feeling – a lot of this life is on the road, hotels rooms and highways. There are all kinds of lonely. But lonely’s always there. For me, and a lot of people, I mask it with having fun and going out.


“A true artist, I guess, you live what you want to feel, so you know it. I’ve been there. There’s plenty to go into the songs.”

The slow-rolling title track juxtaposes the high-spirited life of the party with the desolate guy who goes home to face what he’s lost. “It was the last song I played at the last meeting for this album, and everybody was like, ‘Where’d you get that?!’


“I’d had the song for two-and-a-half years, but it’s so different I hadn’t shared it. Almost a Sinatra or Dean Martin thing. Nobody’d heard it, so there was the usual, ‘I hope it’s not on hold…’ The head of A&R at my label said, ‘I guarantee it’s not on hold’ – because it’s so different – and it wasn’t.”


That same stoicism permeates the halting “Raincheck,” a puddle of steel guitar that soaks up a failed attempt at moving on. “That’s my Keith Whitley ‘Between the Devil and Me’ song. We’ve all been there, trying to get over someone and not quite getting there…”


In a world of shallow partying, Pardi considers not just the consequences, but the pain that comes with it. Having been the good time guy, he also recognizes for an artist to grow, he must look a little deeper and reach newer understandings of the moment.


Not that Pardi’s gone serious. “Longneck Way To Go,” his sweeping collaboration with hipster country force Midland, considers the collision between drinking her off your mind and just going hard. “That song is such an anthem for us to come together, because Midland is the other band who’s really standing up for this music that’s being left behind. They’re so stylistic, especially about the music and write as a band for their band… To me, this shows what country used to be.”


That inner Gary Cooper or Steve McQueen hasn’t dulled Pardi’s sense of humor. He closes the album with the unlikely “Reverse Cowgirl,” a yearning call to a woman who’s taken off, featuring Sarah Buxton vocals and two-time and current CMA Musician of the Year Jenee Fleenor.


“Bart sent it to me, and said, ‘Dude, don’t look at the title…’ But I did, and I wouldn’t even listen to it,” Pardi remembers. “Then we had some people over, and I played it as a joke. One listen in, we couldn’t stop listening! The girls loved it… It’s romantic, but it puts a smile on your face; makes you happy, sad, laugh all at once. Plus, when you hear that fiddle, you’re right back to Strait in the ‘90s.”


Country in the ‘90s is suddenly vogue. For Pardi, he’s steeped in it. His authenticity pushes him, co-producers Bart Butler and Ryan Gore to create something a little more honest, a little richer in the roots.


“You gotta know the right players,” the man whose California Sunrise and Heartache Medication were #1 Billboard Top Country Album debuts, plus CMA and ACM Album of the Year nominees. “There’s people who want to play country music, they just don’t get to. The whole computer thing really changes the way music’s made and feels, and that’s driving the modern country.”


Start there, keep going. A sold-out three-night run at New Braunfels’ famous Whitewater Amphitheater saw Pardi, Rhett Atkins and Luke Laird thinking about Texas, chilling out and what makes that kind of music so compelling. “Smokin’ A Doobie” emerged.


“We had rented a house and watched this crew member kinda slipping down to the banks of the river, just grabbing a moment and firing up. Rhett out of nowhere started singing ‘Smokin’ a doobie on the Guadalupe…’ The song fell out! I don’t think it was 40 minutes before we were done.”


In a Willie Nelson world, the sentiment shouldn’t be scandalous. But Pardi knows some people may still be shocked. “I don’t smoke that much and don’t carry it with me, but if someone’s passing a doobie? Sure. It’s that whole ‘Margaritaville’ thing of letting go of the day, just chilling out and letting the worries float away.”


The problem and the solution, the torque and the release. For a guy who still gets excited about heavy equipment, it makes sense. Rather than fit in with today’s sound, Pardi doubled down. Willing to do the heavy lifting for his kind of country, it’s not a matter of going along, but carving out a path that feels true.


“Some songs are easier for me to put down some chords and lyrics than try to describe it,” he explains. “The songwriters know who and what I am, and they bring me great stuff. I have plenty of time to work on the songs I do write. Together, that creates the best possible Jon Pardi album I can make.”


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NEWS AND NOTES: Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Jon Pardi, Darius Rucker, Toby Keith, Mickey Guyton, Jordan Davis

Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Jon Pardi, Darius Rucker, Toby Keith and many others are featured on Hardy’s latest HIXTAPE: Vol. 3: DIFFTAPE in tribute to the late Joe Diffie. Using Joe’s archived recordings for the album, several country artists joined forces to bring Joe’s recordings back to life.

Luke is  joined by Randy Houser on “Honky Tonk Attitude,” which Joe originally released in 1993.

Reba, along with Jake Worthington, recorded “Is It Cold In Here?,” while Jon Pardi and Old Dominion collaborated on “Bigger Than The Beatles.” Darius and Hailey Whitters are featured on the song “Home.”

For his final recording, Toby, along with Luke Combs, joined forces with Joe on “Ships That Don’t Come In.”


Mickey Guyton received a special delivery from Beyoncé on the day her Cowboy Carter album was released. Mickey posted photos of a huge bouquet of flowers and a card that read, “Thank you for opening doors for me, queen. Love and respect, Beyoncé.”


Jordan Davis has some famous fans, including Peyton Manning, NFL great Jason Kelce and new Philadelphia Eagle Jordan Davis. Another famous fan — actor Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar, Designated Survivor, House) was on the Kelly Clarkson Show recently, and said he was really into Jordan’s music. Take a look at the video clip below.



The nominations for the 2024 CMT Music Awards have been announced, and Universal Music Group Nashville is represented in nearly every category with nods for Anne Wilson, Brothers Osborne, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Kacey Musgraves, Luke Bryan, Mickey Guyton, Priscilla Block, Reba McEntire and The War And Treaty (check out the complete list of nominees below).

The fan-voted award show, hosted by Kelsea Ballerini, will air live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday, April 7th at 7pm CT on CBS, and will be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+. Performers, presenters and additional details about the show will be announced soon.

2024 CMT Music Awards Nominees:

Best video of the year; awarded to the artist (male, female, group/duo or collaboration). Top six nominees from the first round of voting, will be announced on April 1. The final three nominees, from the second round of voting, will be announced on show day (April 7). Final voting will be determined via social media and announced as the final category during the live show.
Ashley McBryde – “Light On In The Kitchen”
Brandy Clark feat. Brandi Carlile – “Dear Insecurity”
Brothers Osborne – “Nobody’s Nobody”
Cody Johnson – “The Painter”
Darius Rucker – “Fires Don’t Start Themselves”
Hardy – “Truck Bed”
Jason Aldean – “Let Your Boys Be Country”
Jelly Roll – “Need A Favor”
Jordan Davis – “Next Thing You Know”
Kacey Musgraves – “Deeper Well”
Kelsea Ballerini – “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)”
Lainey Wilson – “Watermelon Moonshine”
Mickey Guyton feat. Kane Brown – “Nothing Compares To You”
Parmalee – “Gonna Love You”
Tyler Childers – “In Your Love”
Zach Bryan – “Nine Ball”

Best video by a female artist; awarded to the artist.
Ashley McBryde – “Light On In The Kitchen”
Gabby Barrett – “Glory Days”
Kacey Musgraves – “Deeper Well”
Kelsea Ballerini – “Penthouse”
Lainey Wilson – “Watermelon Moonshine”
Megan Moroney – “I’m Not Pretty”
Reba McEntire – “Seven Minutes In Heaven”

Best video by a male artist; awarded to the artist.
Bailey Zimmerman – “Religiously”
Cody Johnson – “The Painter”
Hardy – “Truck Bed”
Jelly Roll – “Need A Favor”
Jordan Davis – “Next Thing You Know”
Luke Combs – “Fast Car (Official Live Video)”
Morgan Wallen “Last Night (One Record At A Time Sessions)”

Best video by a duo or group; awarded to the artists.
Brothers Osborne – “Nobody’s Nobody”
Dan + Shay – “Save Me The Trouble”
Old Dominion – “Memory Lane”
Parmalee – “Girl In Mine”
The War And Treaty – “Have You A Heart”
Tigirlily Gold – “Shoot Tequila”

Best video from a collaboration; awarded to the artists.
Carly Pearce feat. Chris Stapleton – “We Don’t Fight Anymore”
Ella Langley feat. Koe Wetzel – “That’s Why We Fight”
Jon Pardi, Luke Bryan – “Cowboys and Plowboys”
Justin Moore & Priscilla Block – “You, Me, And Whiskey”
Lukas Nelson + Promise of the Real (POTR) feat. Lainey Wilson – “More Than Friends”
Mickey Guyton feat. Kane Brown – “Nothing Compares To You”
Old Dominion & Megan Moroney – “Can’t Break Up Now”

Best video from a female artist’s major breakthrough album; awarded to the artist.
Anne Wilson – “Rain In The Rearview”
Ashley Cooke – “Your Place”
Brittney Spencer – “Bigger Than The Song”
Tigirlily Gold – “Shoot Tequila”

BREAKTHROUGH MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR, presented by Walt Disney World
Best video from a male artist’s major breakthrough album; awarded to the artist.
Chayce Beckham – “23”
Tyler Childers – “In Your Love”
Warren Zeiders – “Pretty Little Poison”
Zach Bryan – “Oklahoma Smokeshow”

Musical performance on a television show, series or variety special on CMT; awarded to the artist (individual, group or duo).
Amber Riley – “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” (from CMT Smashing Glass)
Bret Michaels & Chris Janson – “Nothing But A Good Time” (from CMT Crossroads)
Carrie Underwood – “Hate My Heart” (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)
Cody Johnson – “Human” (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)
Dierks Bentley – “Drunk On A Plane” (from CMT Storytellers)
Dustin Lynch feat. MacKenzie Porter – “Thinking ‘Bout You” (from CMT Campfire Sessions)
Hozier & Maren Morris – “Take Me To Church” (from CMT Crossroads)
Jelly Roll – “Need A Favor” (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)
Kelsea Ballerini – “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)” (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)
The War And Treaty – “On My Own” (from CMT Smashing Glass)

Musical performance from a production, series or livestream created for CMT digital / social channels; awarded to the artist (individual, group or duo).
Chase Rice – “Goodnight Nancy” (from CMT Studio Sessions)
Dylan Scott – “Don’t Close Your Eyes (Keith Whitley Cover)” (from “CMT Digital Campfire Sessions”)
Megan Moroney – “I’m Not Pretty” (from “CMT Digital Campfire Sessions”)
Nate Smith – “Whiskey On You” (from CMT Studio Sessions)
Scotty McCreery – “It Matters To Her” (from CMT Stages)
Stephen Wilson Jr. – “Year to Be Young 1994” (from CMT Studio Sessions)
The Castellows – “I Know It Will Never End” (from CMT Studio Sessions)







Audio / Darius Rucker talks about the video for "Fires Don't Start Themselves," in which he plays a detective hot on the trail of a young couple whose passionate love is setting their town ablaze, both literally and figuratively.


Darius Rucker (Fires Don’t Start Themselves video) OC: …happy about that. :46
“I love acting. I love… It’s a lot of fun. And the actors you get to act with are so giving and make it so easy for you and fun and everything. But that video, when they told me I wasn’t going to do any performance, I was so happy, because that’s so the cliché (for) the video. You have other people acting and then you do the performance. But when they told me I was going to play a detective, I put on my inner Stabler, because I’m such a Law and Order and CSI fan, so I put on my inner Stabler and went out and did it. And the girl I worked with, she was so fun; she was so funny. And you know that donut scene, when I see it, there’s no words and it still makes me laugh every time I see it. But yeah, that was a lot of fun and I’d love to do a lot more of that, but, you know, we’ll see if it comes. If it comes, I’ll take it. If not, I’ll keep doing this music thing. I’ll be happy about that.”



Reba McEntire (music video for Seven Minutes In Heaven) OC: …it still hurts. 1:08
“I picked out the lady to play mama, Eleanor. She did a great job. And she was a sweetheart to get to work with. That is exactly what I thought it would look like if I went to heaven and it was, you know, with the smoke coming in and out, made it look really heavenly. And I thought it would be something familiar, something that you’d feel comfortable with. God thinks of everything. And so, to walk up to the booth, and the next time I walk up and mama’s there and I put my arms on her shoulders, Eleanor’s hands were very similar to mama’s when she was young. So that got me to, they kept saying, ‘Okay, let’s do it again. I said, ‘Okay, let’s take a little break here. Get in here to redo my makeup. Because I would, I just bawled. And Eleanor was sitting across from me at the booth, and she’d see me crying. She’d try to reach for a napkin out of the napkin dispenser on the table. And I’d say, ‘Eleanor, that’s okay. It’s part of the video.’ ‘You don’t want to wipe?’ I said, ‘I’m good. I’m good.’ But she was just like a mother, you know, and they’re trying to make sure everything was all right. It was healing. It was healing for me to do that video and kind of like get it out because it still hurts.”



Jordan Davis (writing Next Thing You Know) OC: …song is today. :59
“There’s a saying that says ‘raising kids – the days are long, the years are short,’ and that’s what this song is to me. I kind of came in wanting to write something like that, you know kind of a slow down time song, and Greylan had this idea. The idea initially was about going to a bar or going somewhere and meeting somebody and then just the progression of a relationship. I kind of hijacked the title and said, ‘Hey man. I love that title, but we’re going to write it in the sense of having kids, watching ‘em grow up and hopefully becoming a grandparent, you know? Chase McGill and Josh Osborne both have kiddos, and I think they kind of grabbed on it. Greylan, hats off to him. He’s the single kid of the group, so he was like, ‘Man, I’ll go there. I don’t know how much input I can be able to say in this, but I’ll go there with you.’ I mean, he’s a great writer, and it was fun to kind of see the title that he threw out evolve into what the song is today.”



Anne Wilson (BTS RITR video) 2 OC: …in this video. :37
“So, I love this music video so much. We were working through the idea and concept behind it. It was really about portraying three different versions of myself – the happy version, which is the healed version; the driver, which is kind of plowing through everything and then the one that is sad and kind of looking on the past and reflecting what has come before. And I love the reminder in this music video and getting to work with T.K. McKamy on this treatment of how can we take this song and dive deeper into what it means? And I think in life we all go through different seasons where we’re either fully healed, we’re still looking back and struggling with depression and anxiety from the past or we’re driving in the seat and we’re going ahead for what’s to come. So, I love that we got to portray all three of those in this video.”

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NEWS AND NOTES: Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Louie The Singer, Jon Pardi

Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley are among the performers for the all-star celebration, Great Performances — George Jones: Still Playin’ Possum, which is set to air Friday (February 23rd) at 9pm ET/8pm CT on PBS. Recorded last April in Huntsville, Alabama, the tribute marks the 10th anniversary of George’s passing. Jelly Roll, Justin Moore, Tracy Byrd, Sara Evans, Wynonna, Tanya Tucker, Trace Adkins, Jamey Johnson, Joe Nichols, Uncle Kracker, Travis Tritt and R&B legend Sam Moore also performed. Dierks performed “Why Baby Why,” while Brad performed the iconic hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

Louie TheSinger released the epic video for his song, “Brothers.” The clip features musician Chris Perez, as well as actor Joseph T. (JT) Campos (Queen of the South, Law & Order: Organized CrimePrison Break).


Jon Pardi marked the first birthday of daughter Presley Fawn on Sunday (February 18th), showing adorable photos of her smiling, in overalls, eating birthday cake and even a video of her first steps. Jon and his wife Summer are expecting their second daughter later this year.



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