Jon Pardi Had A ‘Best Song Wins’ Mentality When Recording and Co-Producing New Album, ‘Mr. Saturday Night’
‘Mr. Saturday Night’ is Album of the Year material.
Jon Pardi; Photo Provided
A record isn’t complete without a perfectly curated track list and Jon Pardi isn’t one to disagree. He took all the necessary time and steps to create a collection that felt right to him and pushed the boundaries of his stylings, resulting in his just-released album, Mr. Saturday Night.
“I never really knew what the album was gonna be, but it slowly worked itself out,” Pardi explained during a recent chat with Country Now and other media outlets.
Leading with the title track and the most fitting cold start for the classic country album, he channels the life of the party as he sings, “Yeah, they call me Mr. Saturday night/Mr. always in/Mr. never missed a good time.”
“Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better intro for ‘Mr. Saturday Night,’” Pardi shared. “It’s just like, ‘yeah, I’m here, I’m hungover and I’m gonna sing this song.’ When I hear that, I’m like, ‘this is Mr. Saturday Night.’ So cold starts for the win for me.”
Although he easily could’ve filled this album solely with songs he wrote, Pardi didn’t want to limit himself with all the creativity swarming around him, so he added a mix. A band of talented songwriters brought him the songs he had been searching for, the ones that made him feel happy when he sings them.
“I strictly stand by the best song wins and the old saying, you can’t out write Nashville. I understand artists that want to write everything and want to be a part of everything, but for me, I don’t wanna miss out on some of these great ideas. And it gives me a little more time to go dive personally into what I wanna write about or what would make more sense for me to write than other songs. So it’s just, best song wins. That’s how all these albums are.”
For many artists, knowing when to put down the brush, or in this case, knowing when to stop adjusting the track list, can be difficult. It wasn’t until he wrote two songs, in particular, with Rhett Akins and Luke Laird, that he finally felt like their work was done.
“We wrote ‘Workin’ On A New One’ and ‘Smokin’ A Doobie’ and that kind of just sealed the deal. We were like, ‘yes, this is what we needed.’”
Among the 14 tracks are plenty of upbeat jams that can be taken to the dance floor, including his current single, “Last Night Lonely,” along with the previously released “Fill ‘Er Up.” That being said, there’s another hard-hitting soulful side that takes over for a bit. He honors love in “Santa Cruz,” battles denial in “Your Heart or Mine” and creates serenity in “Smokin’ A Doobie.”
Pardi stepped outside of the norms and welcomed songs like “Neon Light Speed” and “Hung The Moon” that broke those boundaries for him. Although they have other songwriters in the credits, Pardi makes sure to add his own flare to the songs.
“As a songwriter and a producer, I’m still gonna write on that song (“Hung The Moon”). I’m not gonna take credit, but I’m gonna make it sound like I want it to sound, regardless if it’s something really simple or if I’m gonna bring this last chorus into a whole other world that it wasn’t ever a part of. Cause that’s how much I love these songs. That’s how much they meant to me. That’s why I recorded them.”
He added, “’Neon Light Speed’ was written by more of a poppier side of songwriters, but they wrote that for me. They’re like, ‘this is our Jon Pardi kind of style.’ But it was so different and cool, that’s why I loved it. I was like, this is what I want. I want people that aren’t from, you know, a traditional background trying to write this stuff cause A) it’s good for them as songwriters and B) it comes with something different.”
The pace shifts with “The Day I Stop Dancin’,” which Pardi refers to as “one of the best dance tracks on the record.” Written by Bart Butler, Justin Ebach, Josh Thompson, this song hits close to home for Pardi and his wife, Summer as it speaks on their language of love. While processing the lyrics, it’s destined to leave a lump of emotions in your throat, much like it did for his in-laws the first time they heard it.
“They kind of wrote it about me and Summer and how we like to dance. We’re always seen dancing, ‘Heartache Medication’ videos we’re dancing, and they came up with ‘The Day I Stopped Dancin’.” It was hard to outwrite that song for the record. It was one of our favorites and I still think it’s one of the best dance tracks on the record.”
The California native is currently on his nearly sold-out Ain’t Always The Cowboy tour which includes an all-female lineup of special guests. The singer boasts that the shows have been “nonstop fun” having Lainey Wilson, Hailey Whitters and soon, Priscilla Block on the road.
“It’s been nothing but a good time. I mean, Hailey and Lainey are great. The whole show packaged together is based around just good music, good times and having fun and in a very country music (way).
The tour will conclude on October 1 in Nashville.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.