My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Jon Pardi – ‘Write You A Song’

write you a songI was unconvinced by Capitol newcomer Jon Pardi ‘s first pair of singles: the mediocre ‘Missin’ You Crazy’ failed to make any impact on me, and not much on the chart, just sneaking into the top 30. I don’t much care for current hit ‘Up All Night’ with its moderately catchy but poppy melody and horribly cliched’ lyric, although I can see why it is doing well for him. Unexpectedly his full length album release delivers an energetic set of country rock which is actually rooted in country, and most of the songs (all but one co-written by the artist) are much better than the singles would suggest. In many ways he is reminiscent of a less obnoxious Eric Church without the latter’s excesses, with a little Dwight Yoakam thrown in. He also sounds very like Church vocally and with his melodic choices as a songwriter.

He opens with ‘What I Can’t Put Down’, a solid country-rocker about the battle with various kinds of addiction which is pretty good. ‘Empty Beer Cans’ is good too, about setting fire to an ex’s possessions to underline a final goodbye after half a dozen false starts. Perhaps those previous attempts to get back together are documented in ‘When I’ve Been Drinkin’, a vivacious tune about drunk dialing a bad news ex; I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

The title track is a little jerky rhythmically, but has a youthful effervescence as he talks about being a touring musician. ‘Trash A Hotel Room’ (the only song not to be co-written by Pardi) has a similar youthful feel. ‘Chasin’ Them Better Days’, an optimistic take on his hopes of hitting it big some day, is well written and enthusiastically performed, but sounds a bit more cluttered. I did love the bluesy gospel style piano outro, though, and could have done with that throughout the song.

There are just a couple of slower songs. ‘Love You From Here’ and ‘Happens All The Time’ are slightly dull, but I liked ‘That Man’, which is a sincere declaration of unconditional love whenever the object of his affection is ready for it.

This album was quite a pleasant surprise from a young artist who shows a lot of potential. Pardi is not traditional country, but as modern country rock goes, he uses a more understated production palette than most. There is a bit of lack of variety as the tempo is nearly always fast, but the electric guitar soloes are never ramped up too high in the mix. On this evidence he is definitely shaping to be one of the better mainstream artists – rather like I hoped Eric Church would be at the beginning of his career.

Grade: B

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