Country Next: Landon Parker
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Landon Parker.
Landon Parker; Photo by Jason Myers
Landon Parker is making his mark on the country music scene with not one but two offerings that are bound to make an impact on country music listeners far and wide. With a perfect blend of traditional sounds and modern lyrics, Parker’s two tracks are already becoming strong contenders for summertime anthems.
Born and raised in Yadkinville, North Carolina, Parker began fueling his musical passion as a teenager. He honed his craft in his home state before setting foot in Music City, performing on Nashville’s honky-tonk circuit. An avid songwriter, Parker first found his way onto Free Dive ( a publishing company in partnership with TriScore Music). In March of 2022, his impressive vocal and performance talent landed him a management deal with EM.Co, (who also manages Tim McGraw), and representation from CAA.
Now Parker is out with a two-song package. Produced by Grammy Award winner Blake Chancey (Waylon Jennings, The Chicks, Little Big Town), they include the fun-loving “Good Beer Drinkin’” penned with Cody Gregg, and the swaggering “Caught Me at a Good Time,” written alongside Chancey and Josh Hoge.
Parker, who is also expected to release an EP via Bad Ass Records, recently caught up with Country Now to talk about his current singles, his road to Nashville, and more.
Read on to find out more about Landon Parker in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
I started when I was 16-years-old. My dad bought me a guitar from Tennessee and taught me a few chords. My brother also helped out with that. I started posting some cover songs of Blake Shelton, Scotty McCreery, and things on YouTube and tried to build a fanbase through that to see if people liked my singing or not. After posting some YouTube covers, I entered a local talent contest in my area in North Carolina and won. I received a lot of hometown support from that. It gave me more confidence to get on stage and play for people. After that, this band called Chasin’ Crazy found my covers on YouTube. They were like, ‘Man! You should move to Nashville!’ They were working with Tim McGraw’s manager, Scott Siman, and he wound up calling me and saying, ‘Do you want to join this band?’ I said, ‘Yeah!’ But I thought it was a joke because it was Tim McGraw’s manager asking me to move to Nashville. But, I said, ‘I’m going to do that. I love you, mom and dad.’ I was in that band for five years. When it came to an end, I was going to move back home. But Scott called me up again and said, ‘Don’t leave. I want to offer you a publishing deal and a management deal. I want to work with you.’ So, I started working on my solo career again. I’ve been doing that for three or four years now.
More recently, you signed on with Tim McGraw’s management company. What was that conversation like for you?
Well, it was definitely a shock. I did not expect that at all. I was going to move back home and try to play music from there. My wife was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. So, that was the reason why I wanted to move back home. The conversation was a shock because it was Tim McGraw’s manager and my producer, Blake Chancey. He produced bands like The Chicks, Montgomery Gentry, and people like that. After they had sat me down and said they wanted to work with me, it was mind-blowing. I was like, ‘I can do this.’ They gave me the confidence to not give up.
So now you’re out with two songs. What inspired ‘Good Beer Drinkin’’?
One of my first songs, as a solo artist was ‘Good Beer Drinkin.’” I just thought with playing downtown a lot, I needed a crowd sing-along song. I was like, ‘I just need a good beer-drinking song.’ Then it hit me. I thought that was a great title. So, I thought of everything that I could – every drinking term that I could think of. I called up my wife and my buddy and they were like, ‘Alright. Intoxicated? Wasted? Whatever it was. Then, I pieced it together and played it for some people out at a show and they were like, ‘Bro! This is a smash! You need to go into a studio and record it.’
Did songwriting always come naturally to you?
I started writing, or I would say, attempted to write with my brother when I was 16-years-old. I don’t know if I was any good at it. But I loved doing it. I liked the experiences. And I loved putting them down on a piece of paper. But, I think being in the band that I was in shaped me as far as who I am as a writer and as an artist. It helped me figure out what I wanted to write about, like with ‘Good Beer Drinkin’ and ‘Caught Me at a Good Time.’ Those are things I like doing. I like drinking beer and having a good time. And then with ‘Caught Me at a Good Time,’ I think that is a fun, uptempo, breakup song. And I’ve been through some breakups in my life. But, I just found a passion for writing when Scott asked me if I wanted to write for Tim McGraw. I was like, ‘Yes.’ That formed me into who I wanted to be.
Are there artists – aside from Tim McGraw – that you listen to for inspiration when thinking about your career?
Well, of course, Tim. And then I listen to Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn, and Travis Tritt. I try to throw more old-school elements into it. But I also like to put my twist on songs. So, I have so many influences when it comes to writing songs and singing. When I started playing music, I tried imitating everyone. Then my brother came into the room, and he was like, ‘Dude. You need to sound like you. And, first of all, quit howling like a coyote.’ I was trying to sing some Justin Moore because I was trying to get my range up. So, I just sat in my room that night and wondered, ‘What do I sound like?’ After years of playing shows and writing and things like that, I finally figured out what I want to sing about and how I want to sing
How long did it take to record ‘Good Beer Drinkin’’?
Well, I wrote that song about three years ago. We tweaked it here and there. There were a few lines where I think it was like, ‘Passing out in the back of the car,’ and my producer was like, ‘You’ve got a better line.’ So we came up with ‘soused in the house.’ Then there’s a term in there called loop-legged. I don’t know if anybody has ever heard of that before, but my wife’s grandpa had too much heart medicine one night. He was like, ‘Man. I got too loop-legged last night.’ I was like, ‘I have to throw that in the song.’ But the process, I would say, took a couple of years. Once we got it mixed and mastered, we knew it was right. We recorded ‘ ‘Good Beer Drinkin’’ and ‘Caught Me at a Good Time’ in the studio when all of the Covid-19 stuff happened. I played a lot of parts on it. I played acoustic and electric on ‘Caught Me at a Good Time’ and ‘Good Beer Drinkin.’’ So, when people listen to it, they will hear me playing.
How did ‘Caught Me at a Good Time’ come about?
I wrote that one with my producer Blake Chancey and another writer, Josh Hoge. About three years ago, I had this guitar part that I played at the beach. I was like, ‘I like this.’ But, I didn’t have a title. So, I started looking through my phone and found ‘Caught Me at a Good Time,’ and I was like, ‘Huh. It has a double meaning behind it.’ I wanted it to be fun. So, I brought it to Blake and Josh, and they just really loved it. Then they put their twist on it. They were like, ‘What if we make it about a breakup, and the girl comes in and catches him having a good time?’
Why did you choose to put both songs out simultaneously?
I wanted to give people a variation of who I am. I think they are two completely different songs. But, in a way, they also go together. I wanted the party beer-drinking song, but I also wanted something where it touches on love and heartbreak while also having a good time.
Should fans expect an album or an EP from you soon?
Yes. I think we’re going to put out an EP in the summertime. We’re still deciding how many songs we want to put on there. But I’m going into the studio here soon to record a couple more songs. So we might drop a whole EP, or we may keep doing the single game. We’re just waiting and seeing.
Have you thought about your next release?
I’m in the studio recording three songs right now. A song that I really love that’s a bar song is called ‘Back At The Bar,’ and then a song that I wrote for my wedding. I wrote it for my wife’s dad and her to dance to at our wedding called ‘Your Baby Girl.’ I would love it if they all came out together because I’m impatient.
Speaking of a baby girl, congratulations on welcoming your daughter in January. How has fatherhood been for you so far?
It was crazy! It was the wildest experience I had ever been through. There have been a lot of sleepless nights, and I wrote the title ‘Sleepless Nights.’ I was looking for a baby title for a while, and when she was born, I was like, ‘There it is! I got it!’ But she’s the sweetest thing. It’s weird looking at her and being like, ‘Oh my gosh. I made this,’ you know? It’s a great feeling. And, my wife. She is amazing. She’s superwoman.
Is it easy to juggle homelife as a dad and husband and being on the road?
Stuff has picked up a lot for me this year. So, a lot of the time, I’m not home. If I come home, and she’s asleep, I don’t want to wake her up, but I do want to go in and hold her. But, if I wake her up, then she will be up all night.
Do you find yourself leaning toward the sentimental side now that you’re a father?
Well. I love a good ballad, and ‘Your Baby Girl’ is a ballad. I wrote that song before Lainey was born. After writing it, and when we were going to find out the gender of our baby, I was like, ‘This has to be a girl because I wrote that song.’ I was praying that she would be a girl. I want to do something really special with the music video for that song.
What message do you want fans to take away from your music?
I want people to let go on a Friday or any day of the week. I want people to forget about the work week, come out and have a good time at one of my shows or while they’re listening to my music. I want them to be happy that they’re not at work anymore. I want my music to portray happiness, or if I write a ballad or a sad song, I want people at my concerts to be full of beer, cheers, and tears.
What’s next for you?
I’m playing a lot downtown Nashville – like Whiskey Row. As far as touring goes – we’re working on getting a band together. I have a few guys that I want to be in my band. But we’re just rounding out the setlist and waiting on more dates to come in to announce for fans. Fans can find me on all of the social media platforms too, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and on my website. I’m in the studio, so we should have more music coming soon.
Fans can keep up with Landon Parker on Instagram.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.