On Friday, Jon Pardi will release Heartache Medication (Deluxe Version), an expanded edition of his CMA-nominated third album. In addition to the album’s original tracks, the new edition features three previously unreleased songs, including the groove-heavy “Bar Downtown,” which premieres Thursday.
Adding a rhythmic, R&B-influenced backbeat to his usual mix of Telecaster, steel, and fiddle, Pardi places himself in a scene after a breakup in “Bar Downtown,” which was penned by Josh Osborne, Josh Thompson, and Matt Dragstrem. “I could be just one neon sign away/You could be sippin’ on tonic and Tanqueray,” he begins, addressing an ex and wondering if she’s in the same state of disarray as him. “Am I heavy on your heart right now, like you are on mine/Wishin’ we could just rewind a little,” he sings in the chorus.
In addition to “Bar Downtown,” the Deluxe Version of Heartache Medication includes the unreleased song “Beer Light” and the “Western” mix of Pardi’s hit single “Ain’t Always the Cowboy.” “I didn’t really think of a follow-up,” he told Rolling Stone in 2019 about the process of recording Heartache Medication after his breakthrough with California Sunrise. “I just thought of a next chapter and what I wanted to do for my third record as an artist, and [was] not thinking about success.”
Ordinarily, Pardi would be on the road playing a long succession of dates, but the pandemic forced him to take a break this year. Instead, he channeled his energy into the surprise covers album Rancho Fiesta, on which he interprets tunes by Joe Diffie, Dwight Yoakam, and George Strait.