This is the debut album from newcomer Jon Pardi and it sounds as country as possible, while still angling for mainstream radio play. Pardi co-writes the majority of the songs and also co-produces the album, so one can assume this is a pretty fair representation of what he wants to do. He has employed some notable players in guitarists Keith Gattis, and J.T. Corenflos, steel players Dan Dugmore and Robbie Turner as well as fiddler Joe Spivey. They, among others, give the album a flavour of the traditional whilst at the same time aiming for a sound that fits in the more rock/pop radio sounds of many of Pardi’s contemporaries.
Some of the songs fall into line with current themes, the most obvious being Up All Night with its mention of trucks, midnight swims and dirt roads. It also has one of the most insistent choruses and a catchy riff that took it to the upper echelons of the singles chart. Drink, a long-time country staple, is celebrated and also lamented in Empty Beer Cans, When I’ve Been Drinkin’ and Trash a Hotel Room. That other universal topic, love, permeates these songs of missing, losing and hoping for better days. Young and romantically inclined, the songs don’t have the feel of an oolder artist, but a lot of the songs have a kick and energy that should find favour with Pardi’s peers.
Jon Pardi is balancing the sound that he loves with a need to hit the mark at his label and with the radio programmers who control the airwaves, and while he may not please everyone by being quite neither one thing the other, he’s made a album that engages and entertains. Interesting to see how long he’ll stick around and where he goes next.