Jon Pardi’s high-energy approach, perfected on stages throughout his native California, has its stamp all over his Capitol Records Nashville debut. Just as importantly, that energy is applied to music rooted in songwriting legend Harlan Howard's adage that country is three chords and the truth.
Life and love, truth and energy wind their way all through his debut album, which showcases a young artist who is clearly no ordinary newcomer. Few artists hit stride as quickly and as forcefully as he has, and his fellow artists have been among the first to take note. "People ask me who I'd like to open up for," he says with a smile, "but I’ve 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, artists who appreciate the kind of influences Pardi brings to the table—echoes of the crisp Bakersfield sound of Buck 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, he 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. Between the heartfelt opener "Fightin' the Fool" and the breakneck rocker "Drinkin' With Me," which closes the CD, he lays out a scenario of youth, music, love and loss that is as compelling as it is raucous. "Chasin' Them Better Days" and "Write You A Song" capture all the adventure and uncertainty of life on the road; "Happens All The Time" brings attraction, flirtation and love's possibilities, good and bad, to the table; from there, "Up All Night" celebrates love, "Missin' You Crazy" showcases the yin-yang pull of relationships and the road, "Love You From Here" is a surprisingly upbeat farewell to a departed love, and "Empty Beer Cans" and "Rainy Night Song" show both sides of the coin when it comes to heartache.
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.
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