One quick scan of Jon Pardi’s promotional shots and you’ll think you’re looking at Lisa Marie Presley’s illegitimate half brother, or at the very least, Chris Isaak’s happier, corn-fed little brother. But give his 2014 debut album, Write You a Song, a spin or two, or check out “Head Over Boots,” the first single from his impending and as-yet-untitled sophomore effort, and you’ll hear a guy with his head in the present, his heart in classic Country’s storied past and his feet planted firmly in both camps.
Pardi set off down his musical path at an early age. The Dixon, Calif. native was definitely exposed to the Bakersfield sound from birth, and around kindergarten he responded to a children’s music class by asking for guitar lessons. At 7, he sang Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” at his father’s 30th birthday party. By 12 he was writing songs and by 14 he was playing them with his band.
After high school, Pardi and a friend did acoustic gigs around their hometown, then left for junior college together, leading to the formation of Pardi’s band, Northern Comfort. After three years, the band dissolved and Pardi made his way home, working and saving money for what he knew would be his ultimate relocation to Nashville, Tenn. A few exploratory trips later, Pardi packed his gear and headed for Music City in 2008. Within a year and a half, Pardi scored a publishing deal based on a couple of songs he’d collaborated on, and fairly soon his demos caused the labels to start sniffing around. On his third showcase with his full band, he got the nod from Mike Dungan, the president of Capitol Records Nashville.
Pardi takes as much influence from contemporary icons like Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allen and Dwight Yoakam (all of whom he’s opened for) as he does from legends like Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Buck Owens and Jerry Lee Lewis. Pardi got great notices for Write You a Song, as well as for The B-Sides, a six-track EP featuring songs that didn’t make the album. Pardi has already written a 10-gallon hat full of new material, and he’s itching to play it all on his current All Time High Tour. He continues to follow the formula that brought him to this point — he doesn’t overproduce his music, he doesn’t overthink his lyrics and he doesn’t overcomplicate his presentation of the two. That should be Pardi’s winning combination.
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