Interview: Jon Pardi looks ahead to his UK debut and talks about dad life & new music

Jon Pardi’s fourth album, ‘Mr Saturday Night’, saw the Californian native moving further and further into traditional Country, melding that Texan twang and a little of his native west coast sunshine with some aplomb. It’s been a terrific 2023 for Pardi. He became a dad to Presley in February, was announced as an inductee into the Opry from the stage of the Stagecoach festival by Alan Jackson and now, in August, Pardi will cross the Atlantic for the first time to make his UK debut at the Long Road festival. We were thrilled to talk to him all about it.

So lovely to speak to you Jon, thanks for giving us your time on a busy day.

No problem. Busy day. Busy week with no time!

Farm, family or music?

A little bit of everything! (laughing) I’ve got some good co-writes coming up Tuesday and Wednesday which is always good but then I gotta take off again. It’s all gonna be fine!

There’s a lot of excitement over here in the UK for your Long Road festival appearance and debut shows, how are you feeling about it?

The excitement is very much mutual! (laughing) All our stuff is getting ready to be shipped out on the boat and we’re bringing all the band. I guess it’s like an adventure for us, being the first time over there and we don’t get a lot of first-times anymore. I hear the festival is a good one and everybody is pretty rowdy?

It’s a great setting and if the weather holds it’ll be fantastic. Are Summer and Presley coming or is it a strictly music trip?

They are going to stay back here in the States for this one. It’s hard going anywhere with the baby, right? You’ve got to pack up all this stuff – the diaper bag, all that stuff, you know? (laughing) Presley’s got an entourage, man, there’s all the stuff and all the people everywhere she goes!

Has anyone given you any jet-lag tips yet?

Sleep? I’m not expecting London to be as bad as Australia was when we went out there in 2019, that was pretty hard. I think I’ll be alright this time, I’m just thinking that the sleep won’t be as good. We’re aiming to see stuff and soak up everything we can whilst we’re over there.

‘Mr Saturday Night’, the album, has been out for a while now. Have you been pleased with the reception to it?

Yeah, it’s been great. ‘Last Night Lonely’ was huge and it looks like we’ll have two number one singles from the album so you can’t argue with that can you? We play ‘Mr Saturday Night’, the song, every night and that one is a crowd-pleaser, for sure. People seem to have really enjoyed the new songs live out on tour and we are working on a new set for the fall tour too.

Now I’m moving on and my thoughts have turned towards making a new record! People can’t get enough new music these days can they?

Do you feel a pressure to always be generating new content?

I mean, I don’t a ‘pressure’ as such. I’m hard on myself, you know? It used to be that I would get done with a record and not really know when the next one would be put out but now I’m done with one and we start looking for new songs right away, I think it’s fun. Why not? Why not make as much music as you can?

My goal now is to try and get music out faster and try to get songs up the charts faster so we can keep moving forward and I feel like, more than ever now, people love music -it’s a need they have – and if it makes people feel better it’s up to me to supply it. It’s good for the soul and it makes me feel better.

Are you co-writing with anyone who you are particularly excited to get in a room with?

I’m always excited to write with Luke Laird, I’ve got a couple of co-writes with him coming up. I’m also going to write with some new guys in town which should keep things a little fresh. Got to get some more dates on the books for that but we’ll work it out over the next few months.

What sort of milestone in your career was the offer of the Opry induction by Alan Jackson from the stage of the Stagecoach festival? The first Californian native to be inducted into the Grand ‘Ole Opry.

I didn’t know it was happening at all man! I thought it was awesome that we were just on the bill at Stagecoach, you know? (laughing) Friday night, right before Luke Bryan? That was fun but becoming an Opry member is a dream come true.

The other massive thing that’s happened to you this year was becoming a dad for the first time. What’s dad life like?

It’s so good. I’m lucky because Summer is a great wife and mother – she understands that I have to go out and do the music stuff but I do feel lucky that I’ve had a good deal of ‘Presley time’ this year so far. We haven’t toured that hard this year although I swear that every time I go out on the road and come back home she’s got bigger and she’s doing something different. (laughing)

Are you getting much sleep? When my second was born I didn’t sleep for the first 18 months because he didn’t sleep for the first 18 months!

(laughing) Actually Presley is a sleeper! We got lucky on that one. She’ll sleep through the night most nights. She goes to bed at 7.30pm and sleeps right through too 7.30am. She’s a big girl and she needs her time to grow! (laughing)

The tour with Lainey Wilson and Hailey Whitters last year in support of the album looks like it was a lot of fun.

Man, that whole tour was such fun. Being out with the girls was great. They are my friends, first and foremost, which makes it even better. I’d known Lainey for a while and I knew Hailey from before she even had a record deal and they are both such lovely and talented people.

Me and Hailey have written a song together that is probably going to end up on my next record. She’s a great writer, easily one of my faves. When you have good people out on the road with you it’s like touring with your family. I miss that tour – we just got reunited at the Country Thunder festival out here and we hung out and talked out the tour and what we enjoyed about it. Lainey is killing it right now too – we’re all team mates trying to push each other to the next level.

We can’t wait to see you over in the UK so safe travels. When you play festivals do you approach the set a little different to when it’s one of your own headline shows?

Yeah, we do. We normally have a little acoustic segment in our shows but we’ve learned that at a festival that sort of moment just doesn’t work so we just plough through, full-on, loud, in your face type stuff. We don’t tend to play many slow songs at festivals, we just like to pump everybody up!

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