“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.
The track list has just been announced for the new edition of Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 12. The collection includes 10 No. 1 songs, as well as several of today’s hottest country hits from some of your favorite country artists, including Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley with Brothers Osborne, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs and many more.
The latest installment in the popular NOW series will be available March 29th and can be preordered here.
Now That’s What I Call Country Vol. 12 Track Listing:
- Kacey Musgraves Space Cowboy
- Luke Bryan What Makes You Country
- Luke Combs She Got The Best Of Me
- Kane Brown Lose It
- Keith Urban Never Comin’ Down
- Carrie Underwood Love Wins
- Tim McGraw Neon Church
- Pistol Annies Best Years Of My Life
- Old Dominion Hotel Key
- Dierks Bentley f/Brothers Osborne Burning Man
- Jordan Davis Take It From Me
- Russell Dickerson Blue Tacoma
- Thomas Rhett Sixteen
- Chris Young Hangin’ On
- Dustin Lynch Good Girl
- Jon Pardi Night Shift
- Scotty McCreery This Is It
- Midland Burn Out
NOW That’s What I Call Music is a joint venture from Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. The multi-platinum NOW That’s What I Call Music! compilation series is the world’s best-selling multi-artist recorded music brand with sales topping 103 million in the U.S. Now That’s What I Call Country Vol. 12 is distributed by Universal Music Group.
Kacey Musgraves (Space Cowboy inspiration) OC: …include that. 1:20
“The inspiration for ‘Space Cowboy’ was actually triggered by something that my horseback riding teacher, Lori, said to me one day. We were out at the arena and we were watching this stallion go totally crazy in the arena just galloping from one end to the other, just kind of losing its mind and being really reckless and really powerful. I watched it come charging toward me, and I was standing on the other side of the gate, and Lori was screaming at me, ‘Back up, back up! Move out of the way!’ And I really didn’t think anything of it. I said, ‘I’m on the other side of the gate. The gate’s closed. It doesn’t matter.’ She said, ‘Girl-when they wanna go, they’re gonna go. There ain’t no sense in closing the gate.’ That made a big impression on me and I wrote it down, and then ‘Space Cowboy’ came a couple of days later when I wrote it with Shane McAnally and Luke Laird. It just seemed to kind of apply itself in a metaphorical sense to a narrative that I’ve found myself in many times in my life. It’s a narrative that a lot of people I know can relate to. So, this song was very important song for me to include on the album, because though I am in a really happy place now, it’s not always been that way and it was important for me to include that.”
Luke Bryan (what makes him country) OC: …small town. :37
“I think that what makes me country is where I was raised — Leesburg, Georgia — how I was brought up saying ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir,’ ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No, ma’am,’ hopefully with manners and raised with a work ethic and raised in the outdoors fishing and hunting and playing sports. But yeah, I would say definitely it starts with my small-town upbringing and how we were raised; church on Sundays as much as we could. But just enjoying life and living life in a small town.”
Jon Pardi celebrating his RIAA-certified Platinum-selling album California Sunrise in front of over 16,500 fans at a sold-out San Antonio Rodeo. (Feb. 19, 2019) Photo Credit: Brian Vaughn
Capitol Records Nashville’s Jon Pardi celebrated his RIAA-certified Platinum album California Sunrise last week at the San Antonio Rodeo where he headlined the sold-out show with a crowd of over 16,500 on their feet singing along to every word.
Produced by Pardi and Bart Butler, California Sunrise debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and has delivered an impressive five titles to country radio including Pardi’s 2x Platinum-selling No. 1 hits “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots,” the Platinum-selling No. 1 “Heartache On The Dance Floor,” the Top 20 fan-favorite “She Ain’t In It,” and the current Top 15 and climbing “Night Shift.”
Pardi is currently out on the road for the 2019 Burning Man Tour with Dierks Bentley plus has an upcoming five dates in Australia kicking off in April. For more information, visit www.JonPardi.com.
Jon Pardi (fans expectations) OC: …is about. :38
“I know they’ll go away with a good album. And they’ll learn that I like to make music that makes you feel good and my album I’m always going to try to where you can just press play and let it play and just do whatever you want and listen to it, work on your homework, wash your car, mow your lawn. I don’t know. It’s definitely a project where you can let it play and you can just let the time pass by in a good spirit and good lyrics and a good time. Hopefully they walk away with this album and say man I really want to go see that guy live. I want to see what this is about.”
Jon Pardi joins Brooks & Dunn on their 1991 hit, “My Next Broken Heart,” on the duo’s new Reboot album, which pairs Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn with current country stars on some of their biggest songs.
Also on the new album, due out April 5th, are Kacey Musgraves (“Neon Moon”), Brothers Osborne (“Hard Workin’ Man”), Thomas Rhett (“My Maria”), Luke Combs (“Brand New Man”) and many others.
Jon is currently making his way up the country charts with “Night Shift.” You can catch him performing the tune as he makes his way around the country on Dierks Bentley‘s Burning Man Tour, which is set to make stops in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Wichita, Kansas and Omaha, Nebraska later this week.