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Album Spotlight: Jon Pardi, ‘Write You a Song’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Write You a Song
UMG Nashville

Jon Pardi’s debut album ‘Write You a Song’ employs no tricks, gimmicks or novelties to sell a straight-forward brand of country music. The best songs are rowdy, Bakersfield-influenced jams that introduce the California-raised singer as someone whose tour you’ll want to follow closely in 2014. Even the love songs come with a sharp edge, something that defines him as an artist.

‘That Man’ is one exception. The ballad finds a suddenly vulnerable Pardi begging for forgiveness. “Been waiting so long to right what’s wrong and taste your kiss,” he cries out during this standout track from ‘Write You a Song.’

Few of the remaining 10 tracks stray from themes of booze, women and boisterous behavior. ‘What I Can’t Put Down’ is the pace setter, introducing the until-now quiet Pardi as someone with a wild side he can’t quite tame. The title track, his current single ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Trash a Hotel Room’ all fall in line, but each adds an extra layer of lyrical depth. One finds a surprisingly satisfying love story built into many of his best tracks.

So I’ve been checking out / Where we can check into / We’ll get back in touch if the two of us trash a hotel room,” Pardi sings during track No. 7. ‘Missin’ You Crazy,’ his Top 30 single from 2012, is probably a better representation of the album than the current single, but both fit nicely into his rowdy soundscape.

For some, Pardi’s voice will be an acquired taste. The 28-year-old doesn’t croon or stray far from the sound of his first two singles, but he’s chosen the right songs to match his style. Country fans who like their whiskey straight, their guitars loud and their country music raw will embrace Jon Pardi.

Key Tracks: ‘Write You a Song,’ ‘That Man,’ ‘Love You From Here’

Influences: It’s no surprise that Dwight Yoakam is an influence, but Pardi also counts George Strait, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt and the Rolling Stones as artists who’ve shaped his sound.

Did You Know?: Jon’s first band was a classic rock band. He was just 14 years old! Soon he’d start a band called Northern Comfort that lasted three years until the drummer quit. Then, he decided to make the move to Music City.

Next: See Which Other Country Albums Are Coming in 2014

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