Jon Pardi’s sophomore album, California Sunrise, has been an overwhelming success and is currently sitting atop the charts as the number one album in country music.
That being said, it’s exactly what country music needs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love every single bit of country music. I love Sam Hunt as much as the next teenage girl and I love George Strait probably as much as my mom does. I can really appreciate the inclusiveness of country music today, but I’m not one to sit and deny that many of the singles released in the past few months sound more like Maroon 5 than Garth Brooks.
Enter Jon Pardi. The guy that stopped that runaway pop train right in its tracks and saved country music.
1. His traditional sound.
In case you don’t recognize that, that’s fiddle and steel guitar you’re hearing. It’s a beautiful thing.
2. The honesty.
“The common ways we work and play / Are still alive and well today / Don’t need to find a new way to say / We don’t go out of style.”
One listen to the first track and you’ll know right where Jon Pardi stands. He’s just doing him.
3. The work ethic.
Sure Jon lives up to his name with a good dose of party songs, but those honky tonk bangers have an element of working hard, living for the weekend and cuttin’ loose on Friday night. I miss that realism.
4. That cowboy hat.
I don’t care what you wear and personally think Sam Hunt is a style god. That being said, Jon Pardi’s “Cowboy Hat” is my favorite song on the planet right now and if he wasn’t wearing one… he wouldn’t have the song.
Though the new album is Jon through and through, it does has some modern influences that blend perfectly with Jon’s traditional style. “Heartache On The Dance Floor,” for example, begins with this dancy beat of hand claps, but remains country and catchy as all hell.
6. He writes his own songs.
8 of the 12 songs on California Sunrise were written by Pardi. He’s deeply involved with the project from beginning to end.
7. Jon’s California love.
There’s something about a good country song about home that will never, to pull a line from Pardi, “go out of style.” As a Dixon, California native, (I’m ironically from Dixon, Illinois) Pardi names the entire album for that beautiful sunrise in his home state. Classic.
8. Old fashioned heartbreak.
Listen to “She Ain’t In It.” It would have been recorded by George Strait 20 years ago and shot straight to number one. Pure gold.