Jon Pardi recently notched his first Number One song with “Head Over Boots,” an earnest number about love that evokes George Strait in its casual, fiddle-and-steel-driven shuffle. Strait’s also influence looms over Pardi’s chart-topping album California Sunrise, released June 17th, in songs like “She Ain’t In It” and “Cowboy Hat.” Back in June, Pardi acknowledged the greatness of Strait’s work by videoing an acoustic cover of “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” a 1986 Number One from the Texas-born singer’s album #7.
Before his performance, Pardi explains the significance of his love for the song, which came out before he was even two years old. “My grandmother loved country music and she’s the one who really got me into country music,” says the California native. “She had George Strait tapes, a bunch of them. I remember listening to tapes, taking them out, the covers and the back. Every time I hear this song it takes me back to the cassette tapes, growing up listening to George, hanging out singing songs with my grandmother.”
Pardi handles it tenderly, strumming his acoustic guitar and refusing to over-embellish Dean Dillon’s melody. It’s a style that seems perfectly comfortable for him, though California Sunrise has just as much heavy rock influence as Strait’s traditionalism. It works out well for Pardi, who has cultivated a sizeable live following on the strength of his energetic live shows.
“For my shows, I don’t play too many slow songs,” he tells Rolling Stone Country. “I like an upbeat, rowdy record, all the way from ‘Paycheck” to ‘She Ain’t in It’ to ‘Night Shift,’ which is one of my favorites to play live now.”
On September 30th, Pardi joins up with fellow road warror Kip Moore for the Me and My Kind Tour, which runs through December 8th.