Jon Pardi has his first Number One. The country crooner’s new album, California Sunrise tops Billboard’s Country Albums chart this week with almost 30,000 in sales.
Though it has touches of rock & roll influences, the LP largely reflects Pardi’s affinity for the Merle Haggards and Buck Owens of years past — along with the recording styles of his elder heroes. “We used the same seven guys on this whole record,” Pardi tells Rolling Stone Country, explaining that he recorded the entire album live with a studio band. “These days there’s a lot of computer production, samples. . . and there’s a little bit of that on this record, but it’s much more based around the live band, and my sound has always been like that. It was a fun, old-school way of recording a record.”
The first release from California Sunrise is the Top 10 hit, “Head Over Boots,” which was inspired by a trip to a Texas dancehall. Co-written with Luke Laird, the single is one of several tracks on the album with Pardi’s own songwriting stamp. He also co-produced the project alongside Bart Butler.
The California native isn’t shy when it comes to the pressure of making a sophomore album. When we spoke with him a few weeks ago, he had his eyes firmly planted on the charts.
“The first record, we had one single go to Top 10 (‘Up All Night’), and it was a gold record. . . But then in 2015 and 2016, all these new artists are coming out and everyone’s getting Number Ones,” he said. “And then there’s me, with no Number Ones. So everybody’s looking at that, and you sit down to do your second record knowing all these new guys are coming out, the pressure is on!”
While he celebrates his Number One album, a chart-topping song could most definitely be on Pardi’s horizon. “Head Over Boots” is currently at Number Nine and still climbing.