It’s been a month since Jon Pardi released his critically acclaimed fourth studio album, Sir Saturday night. From that album, Pardi saw the lead single, “Last Night Lonely,” top the Billboard Country Airplay chart, marking her fifth No. 1 hit.
With 14 songs that cover love and loss, Pardi delves deeper into her country roots (as if anyone thought it was even possible) to Mr Saturday night paying homage to longnecks, bars and dance floors. The new project reunited Pardi with producers Bart Butler and Ryan Gore – the same production team behind Medicine for heartache.
“These are songs that I put on hold for two years, that have been part of this project for a long time,” Pardi said. Billboard. “They stayed and carved their names into this album and it wouldn’t sound the same without them. Everything matches, from the ones I’ve written to the ones I’ve recorded, they’re all based around me and in the long run, a lot of these songwriters know the sounds I gravitate towards.
If that wasn’t all, Pardi scored two nominations for the 56th Annual CMA Awards for Music Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year for his collaboration with Midland, “Longneck Way To Go”, featured on the new album.
In his own words, Pardi takes American Songwriter readers through a track-by-track preview of his latest studio album, Sir Saturday night.
1. “Mr. Saturday Night” – Written by Benjy Davis, Reid Isbell and Joe Ragosta
I feel like everyone wants to be Mr. Saturday Night sometime on the weekend and have a good time, but then you hear the song and – because it’s so well written – it’s a sad song , but you don’t go there right away because it’s also a fun song. That’s the thing with ‘Mr. Saturday Night” is more than meets the eye – it’s fun right down to the chorus.
2. “Fill ‘Er Up” – Written by Jon Pardi, Ross Copperman and Brice Long
It’s one of the only songs I’ve written on Zoom. It’s just fun, especially at the start of the pandemic, when it was definitely a big “filler” year. What we needed was to have fun and dance and want to be around people, and you can kind of hear that in the lyrics. I wanted to be that guy then, I wanted to be in the bar, I wanted to dance because I missed it all so much and it was so much fun. I remember getting this work tape and we couldn’t stop listening to it.
3. “Last Night Lonely” – Written by Jimi Bell, Joe Fox and Dylan Marlowe
This song is the one we’ve had waiting for a long time. It’s a whole different story, but in many ways it reminded me of the fun we had playing and singing “Night Shift”. He has that same kind of love. It’s this very confident guy who sees the girl of his dreams and he’s ready to risk it all, to make her his “last night only”, but the guy is ready to have his “last night only”. too and that’s part of it too. It makes you want to put your hands up, makes you want to sing, and to me, that was a no-brainer.
4. “Neon Light Speed” – Written by Andy Albert, Josh Dorr and Paul DiGiovanni
“Neon Light Speed” is one of the coolest songs I’ve recorded – we actually recorded it twice to get it right. It’s one of my favorites off. I love the minor chords and darkness in this song but it’s so fun and sexy in a way where in your mind when you hear it you can see the lights spinning around the room and the disco balls on the ceiling. You can feel that speed and see the guy and the girl dancing at the bar.
5. “New Place To Drink” – Written by Jon Pardi, Jessie Jo Dillon and Luke Laird
This song has one of my favorite tempos in country music – like listening to “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” or “Honky Tonk Healin'” or David Ball’s “Thinking Problem”. With the story of the song, I imagine we’ve all been to where maybe you met this person at this place, and it’s a popular place that you all go to, and then when it doesn’t work out, it starts to get weird and gets uncomfortable and you find a new place to hang out, but it’s your place so you’re a little torn. As the lyrics say, “It’s like I’m breaking up twice.” Brent Mason plays guitar on it, he just killed him on it. It’s one of my favorites on the record.
6. “Your Heart or Mine” – Written by Bart Butler, Justin Ebach and John Pierce
“Your Heart or Mine” is kind of like a comeback jam of sorts. There’s great R&B soul and 70s cheering there.
The song is about the push and pull in a relationship… about whether you should come back, or wondering “is it gonna work?” I want it to work, but then it doesn’t work. That feeling of the unknown that is part of the attraction that brings you back for whatever reason.
Musically it has really cool chords and a really cool style. I really wanted the claps and the drum tracks on it. The drums drive the song and you want to move with it and you want to flow with it.
7. “Santa Cruz” – Written by Jon Pardi and Luke Laird
I wrote this about myself and Summer’s first vacation with a group of friends on the beach. Every word sung in this song is very true and when I say “I sent a postcard to a friend” I sent a postcard to Bobby Bones congratulating him – he had been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame this that year, so I sent him a postcard from Santa Cruz. I was just reminiscing and illustrating things I did on this cool trip that I thought was really special because I was with this girl [Summer]. Every good beach song, if it has a basic element, you can relate it to any beach, anywhere, but this one is a bit of a west coast style and I just wanted that feel and this atmosphere. It’s not like, “I’m at the beach, having a good time, yeah man.” It’s really his thing.
8. “Longneck Way To Go” – Written by Rhett Akins, Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Ashley Gorley and Mark Wystrach
It’s three friends and a friend coming together, loving the same thing, standing for the same thing, and found a song that I think people are really going to love and sing along to. It’s just about having a good time and not thinking about what’s going on in your life or whatever you’re going through and just trying to get over it, even if you have a long way to go. Me and Midland sing the good fight for country music, and I know the road is always longer, but it’s a golden road at the end and you’ll be proud of it when you’re done. I can’t wait for it to come out, I can’t wait for the guys and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I love Rhett Akins who is a writer on it, and I’m glad it all turned out well.
9. “Raincheck” – Written by Will Bundy, John Edwards and Michael Tyler
“Raincheck” is a moving song. This guy isn’t ready to move on, he just wants to relax, think, and feel in the moment. Even though he has others who are ready to dance with him, he’s just withdrawn, and I like that. It reminds me of a very classic song, but modern in a way. It kind of spoke to me like Keith Whitley’s song “Just Between the Devil and Me”. It’s totally different from “Raincheck”, but it gives me the same good feeling.
10. “Workin’ On A New One” – Written by Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins and Luke Laird
He’s the same guy who lived through “Fill ‘Er Up” and “New Place To Drink,” and now he’s “Workin’ on A New One.” We have all been there. We’ve all said, “I don’t need to go out,” but the long hours get to you and you need to hang out with your friends and have a good time. We all thought ‘I swore my last hangover was my last hangover, but I’m working on a new one tonight.’ I’ve definitely been there, so hopefully it’s relatable, fun, and funny.
11. “Hung The Moon” – Written by Will Bundy, John Morgan and Jameson Rodgers
This is one of the songs I heard for the first time. I freaked out, we loved it, and it was just a vibe. It shows the strength of man and woman. It’s being someone who’s going to put up with this guy who’s in trouble, but she’s there for him, and he’s there for her. It’s a very strong, romantic song that I consider a great off-record song. It’s not like a song you’ve ever heard me sing before, and it was one of the most exciting parts of recording “Hung The Moon.” It really touched me because Summer tolerated me being on the road, and dealing with the music industry and touring is not easy. So, I always dedicate this one to Summer, my wife. She’s still there and still thinks I hung the moon.
12. “The Day I Stop Dancing” – Written by Bart Butler, Justin Ebach and Josh Thompson
It’s a great love song because it represents eternity, without saying eternity. I love “Seven Spanish Angels” by Willie and Ray Charles, which has always been one of my favorite artists. Thus, the lines “When seven Spanish angels come to take me away” and “Texas runs out in the strait” bring a more musical aspect. As an artist, you have fun saying all these song titles. It will be the day I stop dancing with you, “when heaven has a new pair of boots”. If you can’t dance, you can always dance to this song. The tempo will guide you through it. I can’t wait to add it to the set and see people dancing.
13. “Smokin’ A Doobie” – Written by Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins and Luke Laird
Who doesn’t indulge once in a while? We were on a writer’s trip to Texas, we were playing at Whitewater Amphitheater, and we had a house that overlooked the amphitheater. We saw a crew guy come down and light up by the Guadalupe, and Rhett just started singing, “Smokin’ a doobie on the Guadalupe,” and I loved that. We wrote this song in a few hours the next day. It’s about taking your cares, letting it all go, relaxing, and floating down a river or in a lake. He has excellent violin instrumentation. It’s very Texas, where we were at the time, sipping Lonestar. It’s a special song for me, I like the “no rules” and the “whatever, I’m going to have a good time”.
14. “Reverse Cowgirl” – Written by Zack Dyer, Joe Fox and Jared Scott
It’s a beautifully written song and a romantic song. But it’s a fun song, and it’ll make you think a bit. He’s a guy who just wants his cowgirl back. It has a lot of great imagery, and everyone loves that the taillights come back. From the violins to the real heartfelt melody, it’s a very pretty song. I think everyone will really enjoy it. It surprised me. We wanted to turn heads, and we knew people were going, “what’s this about?” There’s this loneliness that I think everyone clings to in a song.
Courtesy of UMG