Somewhere in Jon Pardi’s arsenal of guitars there is an acoustic, and on the back, he carved the top life lesson Nashville has taught him.
It’s simple, powerful and has three syllables: “Don’t Give Up.”
A picture of Pardi holding up that same message at a 2013 songwriter’s retreat was the surprise backdrop for last week’s double No. 1 party for his back-to-back hits, “Dirt on My Boots” and “Heartache on the Dance Floor,” from his latest album California Sunrise.
“Boots” was written by hitmakers Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley. Pardi and Bart Butler co-wrote “Heartache,” which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s country airplay chart last September. All attended the private event along with representatives from his record label, Capitol Records Nashville, friends, family and Pardi’s father, who flew in to attend his first No. 1 party.
Before the event, Pardi reflected on his first decade in Nashville, saying he wouldn’t change any part of his journey in music so far. He arrived on Feb. 23, 2008.
“There’s always times when you think it’s never going to happen,” Pardi said. “I feel like you can’t pay attention to those [moments]. You gotta get that doubt out of your head … You just never know. But you’re never going to know if you’re not trying.”
He added that when he makes music, he likes to observe various trends in different genres while staying laser-focused on creating a distinctive sound that is authentic to him.
“I love bringing all kinds of feels into whoever artist you want to be, but you gotta know what you want to be,” he explained. “I wanted to be the ’90s guys, but I didn’t want to just be them. I had to be something different.”
Pardi is currently on tour with Miranda Lambert’s Livin’ Like Hippies tour. He will join Luke Bryan’s stadium tour this summer.