Jon Pardi on ‘Dirt on My Boots’ and ‘Out of Style’

"As an artist, you can't always do the same thing every time; you want to push yourself."

By Brian Ives 

Jon Pardi is back with his second album, California Sunrise. While Pardi is more traditional than most of his peers, he’s not averse to listening to modern-sounding demos.

That was the case with one of the songs on the new album, “Dirt on My Boots.”

“‘Dirt on My Boots’ is a very club, honky tonk kind of song,” he tells Radio.com. “The demo was way out there, it was super-hip-hop. But I loved the lyrics, the lyrics were so country, they were talking about getting off work, getting on a tractor, he’s gonna pick up his girl, he’s got dirt on his boots. I just loved that, that really appealed to me. So we took it and we made it more country.”

He says that when he was done, the song was right back in his wheelhouse. “And I think it kind of really made a cool sound. It’s got a killer groove on it, it’s got the fiddle and the steel guitar, the big guitars, the big rock section in the middle. As an artist, you can’t always do the same thing every time; you want to push yourself. So this is like a very modern sound, but with a twist of my traditional sound. It’s real fun, and it’s gonna be fun to play.”

Another very “Pardi” song on the album was one that he didn’t write. “‘Out of Style’ is a fun song, it’s got a great groove, it’s kind of got a great Waylon Jennings beat to it, and it’s really a cool story about a guy who moves to Nashville and kind of gets settled down, and he’s gonna write a song. It’s a song within a song. It talks about how some things will never go out of style and the old ways are still here and are not going to go out of style. I didn’t write it, Jeff Hyde and Neil [Mason and Lynn Hutton] wrote it.”

California Sunrise has four outside songs, which is a lot for Pardi. But his mission was to make the best record he could make, not to fill his album with his own compositions. “[On my first album] I only cut one outside song, on this record, I cut a lot of outside songs. I had songs. I could have done a whole record of my songs. I just loved these songs, and ‘Out of Style’ was one of them. It was just sitting around Nashville, [so I said] ‘I’ll record it.'”

Catch Jon Pardi on the road this summer; he’s doing his own shows, playing festivals and opening for Kip Moore. Check out his dates at Eventful.

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