What is country music to you? If you’re a longtime country fan, like for more than 10 years or so, it may have something to do with the presence of fiddle and steel and the absence of wicky-wicky guitars, drum loops and hip-hop production. Or, it may be about lyrics. For some, it’s about attire—boots and buckles over skinny jeans. And for a lot of us, it’s a feeling. You just know it when you hear it.
We sure hear it in Jon Pardi. And we can also see it in the new music video for his ballad, “She Ain’t In It.”
If you haven’t heard the tune yet, it was penned by hit songwriters Clint Daniels and Wynn Varble. The lyric aches like a broken heart as it tells the story of the man left behind by a woman who wanted something else. He wants to return to a life of normalcy and feels confident that he can do that as long as his lost love isn’t a part of the conversation or at the bar, or he isn’t reminded of her when he hears a song. In other words, he really isn’t over her at all.
Speaking of ache, the arrangement for “She Ain’t In It” is dripping with fiddle, twin fiddles at times, steel and an occasional wood block on the downbeat. It is as pure country as we’ve heard lately and added with Jon’s emotive and tender twang, it is also as authentic as it gets.
Video director Jim Wright only further adds to that authenticity with a beautifully shot black-and-white piece that follows Jon in the lead role doing what men do to get over things like disappointment, loss or a broken heart—throwing himself into work, spending time alone and taking a long draw off of a bottle of whiskey from time to time. He isn’t seeking a catharsis, but instead, a simple distraction, something to render him numb until another time.
Jim was likely able to create a convincing video of a cowboy working through his suffering because that’s what he had to work with. Riding and roping are not unfamiliar to Jon, who trains and competes in team-roping in his free time. And the hat, jeans and button-down shirts are as true to Jon’s look as living in the country is true to his lifestyle.
A lot of you may turn on the radio and lament the absence of traditional country music. Come on, you know you do. We see the same comment on social media all the time about the music and artists being played on country radio today: “That ain’t country” and the even more dismal “True country music is dead.”
Nope. It isn’t.