Jon Pardi wasn’t exaggerating when he said the fiddle would have a dominant presence on his upcoming album Heartache Medication. He proved this when he invited members of the Nashville media to his newly completed barn just outside of Nashville to unveil the new album, one that’s wraps in traditional country melodies and story songs that have enamored fans of the genre for decades.
While discussing the project, Pardi explained how building the new property alongside his father was an escape from the grind of music, one that brought a sense of normalcy and stability into his life. “I guess that has a lot to do with this third record,” he shares. “I named it Heartache Medication because it might be sad topics, but it makes you feel good at the same time.”
While the record overall is a strong offering, there are a handful of songs that demand one’s attention. Here are five standout tracks from Pardi’s Heartache Medication.
“Me and Jack”
Like a shot of Jack Daniels coursing through one’s veins, the intoxicating melody of “Me and Jack” grabs you the moment this song begins. The lyrics portray a fun-while-it-lasted friendship between Pardi and the famous Tennessee whiskey, one that leads to a series of poor decisions. “He made me do things I ain’t ever done before, no me and Jack don’t get along no more,” he sings smoothly over a rapid-fire beat that emphasizes the musicianship of the players. “Me and Jack” sent a bolt of energy through the room, and is bound to have the same effect on fans at Pardi’s live shows.
“Ain’t Always the Cowboy”
A stirring fiddle and Pardi’s rugged voice unite to challenge the idea that the cowboy is the one who’s restless in a relationship. Instead, the song tells of a woman with a “tumbleweed heart,” one who claims her independence and decides it’s time to move on as Pardi reflectively sings, “it ain’t always the cowboy who rides away.” Pardi’s passionate vocal delivery, backed by bold instrumentation, is determined to catch listeners’ admiration.
“Don’t Blame it on Whiskey”
Already a lyrical standout, Lauren Alaina’s presence makes “Don’t Blame it on Whiskey” even more compelling. The song about a bruised relationship is void of any bitterness, but rather finds a couple working to get to the root of the issue instead of numbing the pain with liquor. Along with a waning fiddle and steel guitar, the twosome drive home the poignancy of the ballad. “Don’t let alcohol take the fall for all these thoughts I think, let’s get down to the bottom and not just the bottom of the glass,” Pardi and Alaina sing, her powerful voice blending beautifully with his country croon, making for a tender moment across the album’s 14 tracks.
“Tequila Little Time”
Opening with a sharp horn section that maintains an inviting presence throughout, this upbeat tune is a bright spot on Heartache Medication. The concept is simple – a guy spots a melancholy woman sitting at the bar and hopes to help ease the pain – but the wordplay is what gives it noteworthy flair. “I want tequila little time with you, a little salt and a lime or two… I hope you want tequila little time with me too,” Pardi cleverly sings over the mariachi-infused melody.
With the album’s opening track, Pardi conveys that he’s an old soul. The lyrics have him pondering why certain traditions have become obsolete, such as sealing a deal with a handshake and sitting down for a meal that starts by saying grace. “I say old fashioned don’t go out of fashion, you don’t have to throw all of the old out for the new…yeah there’s a lot of us old cats that ain’t ready to give old hat the boot,” he proclaims, beginning the project on a defining note that continues to solidify his identity as a traditional country torch bearer who also confidently embodies the genre’s future.
Heartache Medication is due out September 27. See the full track listing below.
Heartache Medication Track Listing:
1. “Old Hat” (Jeff Hyde, Matt Jenkins and Ryan Tyndell)
2. “ Heartache Medication” (Jon Pardi, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby)
3. “Nobody Leaves A Girl Like That” (Bart Butler, Marv Green and Jimmy Yeary)
4. “Ain’t Always The Cowboy” (Brandon Kinney and Josh Thompson)
5. “Me And Jack” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Bart Butler and Luke Laird)
6. “Don’t Blame It On Whiskey (Featuring Lauren Alaina)” (Eric Church, Michael Heeney, Luke Laird and Miranda Lambert)
7. “Tied One On” (Bart Butler, Chase McGill and Jamie Paulin)
8. “Oughta Know That” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Luke Laird)
9. “Tequila Little Time” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins and Luke Laird)
10. “Buy That Man A Beer” (Clint Daniels, Justin Lantz and John Pierce)
11. “Call Me Country” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Driver Williams)
12. “Just Like Old Times” (Jon Pardi, Jeff Hyde and Michael Heeney)
13. “Love Her Like She’s Leaving” (Bart Butler, Dean Dillon and Jessie Jo Dillon)
14. “Starlight” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Jeffrey Steele)