Jon Pardi: “Chase Your Dreams”

CMA New Artist of the Year Keeps Country Cool With Fiddle, Steel and Flamethrowers

“Flamethrowers.”

That’s what Jon Pardi told reporters backstage at Wednesday’s (Nov. 8) CMA Awards he wants to add to his show now that he’s a first-time CMA winner.

He’s kidding, of course. As the organization’s reigning new artist of the year, he said he hopes to keep performing, continue to get his music played on country radio, sell tickets, make his fans happy and “keep the wheel going.”

“It’s been an amazing year,” Pardi said, “and next year we’re gearing up to be bigger and better, and go back to writing a third record, and acting like we’re right back at the drawing board, and hopefully get another one of these.”

Pardi added he wouldn’t be where he is today if he gave into any feelings of self-doubt.

“Chase your dreams,” Pardi said. “You never know where it’s going to go until you go, and you’re never going to know if you don’t go. And I always said that when I drove here [to Nashville] from California, I said, ‘Man, it’s going to be a crappy ride back.’ … It’s so amazing to be sitting here finally.”

As a representative of the genre’s new return to hard honky-tonk country, Pardi added his new artist win means that country musicians can still be traditional and win a CMA Award.

“You may not be debuting on the pop charts along with the country charts, but you’re on the country charts,” he said. “And that’s what I’m playing. I’m playing country music. I believe in everybody.

“I believe everybody’s chasing their dreams and their influences from every genre. And that’s what makes country cool. … You’ve got influences from everywhere, and they’re here tonight. Who am I to say, ‘That’s not country.’ We’re all in the same genre. And we’re rockin’, and we’re all having fun. I’m just going to have a little more fiddle and steel.”

Pardi was greeted backstage with a new painting of his image by visual performing artist David Garibaldi. The art was creating on the spot following Pardi’s win.

The CMT on Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour with Midland and Runaway June continues Friday (Nov. 10) in St. Paul, MN.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 08:  Artist David Garibaldi and Jon Pardi pose in the press room at the 51st annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images) Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.