Look, we get it. If traditional, old-school country is your favorite kind of country music, it’s hard as heck to find it when you turn on the radio. There are a lot fewer fiddles and a lot more wicky-wicky guitars, wood blocks have mostly been replaced by drum loops and soothing grooves that tug at your heart and invite you to two-step are few and far between.
But it’s there. It’s in Nashville. It’s in Texas. It’s in Oklahoma, and Georgia, and California, and Wisconsin and everywhere else. And on March 6, it was in Hollywood when Jon Pardi appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
The tall cowboy from the west coast took the stage with his band of characters to perform both his shuffle-y hit single, “Heartache On the Dance Floor,” and his new single, the heartbreaking “She Ain’t In It.” And in the process, this talented, kind, fun and friendly young man … well, he gently shoved traditional country music in the face of Jimmy Kimmel’s audience.
And from the sound of that applause, they liked it. We sure did.
Now before the haters and skeptics get all twisty and start bellyaching, whining and posturing about him not being George Strait or Willie Nelson, he isn’t. But why should he be? We already have George Strait and Willie Nelson. He’s being Jon Pardi, and he’s damn good at it.
And for those who think he is a poser in his jean jacket, boots and cowboy hat, wrong again. Jon competes in team roping events when he isn’t on the road and lives on a nice-looking ranch surrounded by trees outside of Nashville. Yes, he also hunts, fishes, has a pair of Blue Heeler dogs that go almost everywhere with him and does a fine two-step.
No kidding. It’s fine as wine.
Now, Jon is still relatively new to many country music listeners. The long-legged singer-songwriter from California, has been kicking up dust in Nashville for about seven years. HIs first album, “Write You A Song,” spawned one Top 10, “Up All Night,” and three more Top 40 releases. His ACM Award-nominated sophomore album, 2016’s “California Sunrise,” has scored two No. 1 singles—“Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots”—a Top 5 in “Heartache On the Dance Floor” and his newest single, “She Ain’t In It,” is currently burning up the charts.
He’s also out on the road right now with Miranda Lambert on the “Livin’ Like Hippies Tour.”
Yes, cynics and naysayers may believe that traditional country will never find its way back to radio, much less national television, but Jon isn’t listening to them. He’s just doing it.