One of the biggest leaders of this movement has arguably been Jon Pardi. Back when every male country start was recording bro-country songs back in 2014 set to loud rock guitars, Jon kept his music in a slightly more traditional vein. Actually, it was more like an authentic fusion of neo-traditional country with rock and roll.
Jon finally caught some success earlier this year when his song, “Head Over Boots” became his first number one hit, a sign of hard work and a determination to stick to one’s roots.
As for my opinion on the guy, I’m not quite sure what to think. I really liked his debut album a lot, but his latest album, California Sunrise was more of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand you had genuinely great songs like the title track and “Outta Style” to the downright incredible “She Ain’t In It”. On the other however, you also had way too many songs playing it safe along with a few noticeable duds. One of the few duds on that album was his current single, “Dirt On My Boots”.
Many have been quick to point to this song’s sound as its biggest offense, and that’s fair. It’s got a hip-hop beat all while being accompanied by a fiddle. That’s not a pleasant combination in country music unless your name is Yelawolf. However, there’s also a pretty great, bombastic guitar solo that may be one of the few redeeming factors of this song. Hey, at least it’s got SOME bite to it.
My pick for the biggest offense of this song however is the lyrics. For God’s sake, quit telling us about how country you are and how you can’t get too fancy for a night on the town because you’re so country. No, just no. I suppose it’s inoffensive as a theme, but the delivery just comes across sloppily. There’s absolutely no meat to this song outside of that guitar solo I mentioned.
I’m glad this is shaping up to become a huge hit for Pardi. I just wish he could have this same impact with another song off of his album. This is beneath his talent.
Listen: "Dirt On My Boots"
Author: Zackary Kephart