Jon Pardi Dives into Latest Album ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ with Track by Track

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It’s been one month since Jon Pardi released his critically acclaimed fourth studio album, Mr Saturday Night. From that album, Pardi has seen the lead single, “Last Night Lonely,” reach the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, marking his fifth No. 1 hit.

With 14 songs that cover love and loss, Pardi goes deeper into his country roots (As if anyone thought that was even possible) for Mr Saturday Night by paying tribute to longnecks, bars and dance floors. The new project reunited Pardi with producers Bart Butler and Ryan Gore —the same producing team behind Heartache Medication.

“These are songs that I’ve had on hold for two years, that have been part of this project for a long time,” Pardi told Billboard. “They stuck around and carved their names into this album and it wouldn’t sound the same without them. Everything fits, from the ones I’ve written, the ones I’ve recorded, they’re all based around me and in the long run, a lot of these songwriters know the sounds that I gravitate toward.”

If that wasn’t all, Pardi scored two nominations for the upcoming 56th Annual CMA Awards for Musical 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 rundown of his latest studio album,  Mr. Saturday Night.

1. “Mr. Saturday Night” – Written by Benjy Davis, Reid Isbell, and Joe Ragosta

I feel like everybody wants to be Mr. Saturday Night at one point on the weekend and have a good time, but then you hear the song and – the way 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 about ‘Mr. Saturday Night,’ it’s more than meets the eye – it’s all fun until you get to the chorus. 

2. “Fill ‘Er Up” – Written by Jon Pardi, Ross Copperman, and Brice Long

This was one of the only songs I wrote on Zoom. It’s just fun, especially early in the pandemic when it was definitely a big ‘fill ‘er up’ year. What we needed was fun and dancing and wanting to be around people, and you can kinda hear that in the lyrics. I wanted to be that guy at that time, I wanted to be in the bar, I wanted to be dancing because I missed all that stuff so much and it was just so fun. I remember getting that 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 one we’ve had on hold for a long time. It’s this whole different story, but in a lot of ways reminded me of the fun we had performing and singing “Night Shift.” It has that same kind of love to it. It’s this very confident guy who sees the girl of his dreams and he’s ready to lay it all on the line, to make it her ‘last night lonely,’ but the guy is ready to have his ‘last night lonely’ too and that’s part of it also. It makes you want to put your hands up, makes you want to sing along, and for 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 make we got it right. It’s one of my favorites off the record. I love the minor chords and the darkness of 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 are spinning around the room and disco balls on the ceiling. You can feel that speed and see the guy and 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 David Ball’s “Honky Tonk Healin’” or “Thinking Problem.” With the story of the song, I imagine we’ve all been there where maybe you met that person at this place, and it’s a popular place you all go to, and then when it doesn’t work out, it starts getting weird and gets uncomfortable and you find a new spot to hang out, but this is your spot so you’re kind of torn. As the lyric says, ‘it’s like I’m breaking up twice.’ Brent Mason plays guitar on it, he just killed it on this. 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 kinda like a throwback jam in a way. It’s got a great R&B soul and 70s claps on there. 

The song talks about the push and pull in a relationship…to know if you should come back again, or wonder “is this gonna work out?” I want it to work out, but then it doesn’t work out. That feeling of the unknown that is a part of the attraction that brings you back for some reason. 

Musically, it has really cool chords and a really cool style to it. I definitely 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 me and Summer’s first vacation together with a bunch of friends on the beach. Every word that’s sung in that 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 gotten inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame 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 were really special because I was with this girl [Summer]. Every good beach song, if it has a staple of something to it, you can relate it to any beach, anywhere, but this one is kind of a West Coast style and I just wanted that feel and vibe to it. It’s not beachy like ‘I’m at the beach, having a good time, yea man.’ It’s very much its own thing.

8. “Longneck Way To Go” – Written by Rhett Akins, Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Ashley Gorley, and Mark Wystrach

This is three friends and one friend coming together, who love the same thing, stand for the same thing, and found a song that I think people will really love and sing along to. It’s just about having a good time and taking your mind off whatever’s going on in your life or whatever you’re going through and just trying to get over it, even though you’ve got a long way to go. Me and Midland are out there singing the good fight for country music, and I know it’s always more of a long road, but it’s a golden road at the end and you’ll be proud of it when you’re done. I’m excited for it to be out, I’m excited for the guys and I’m excited to be a part of it. I love Rhett Akins who’s a writer on it, and glad it all came together.

9. “Raincheck” – Written by Will Bundy, John Edwards, and Michael Tyler

“Raincheck” is an emotional song. This guy is not ready to move on, he just wants to chill, think things out and just feel the moment. Even though he’s got some others that are ready to dance with him, he’s just hanging back, and I like that. It reminds me of a very classic song, but modern in a way. It kind of spoke to me like the Keith Whitley song “Just Between the Devil and Me.” That’s totally different than “Raincheck”, but it gives me that same good feeling.

10. “Workin’ On A New One” – Written by Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, and Luke Laird

This is the same guy that lived “Fill ‘Er Up” and “New Place To Drink,” and now he’s “Workin’ on A New One.” We’ve all been there. We’ve all said, ‘I don’t need to go out,’ but then the long hours get ya and you need to hang out with your friends and have a good time. We’ve 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 I hope 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 first heard. I flipped out, we loved it, and it was just a vibe. It shows the strength of both the man and the woman. It’s being somebody that will put up with this guy who’s got troubles, but she’s there for him, and he’s there for her. It’s a very strong, romantic song that I feel is a big song off the record. It’s not like a song you’ve heard me sing before, and that was one of the most exciting parts about recording “Hung The Moon.” It really hit home for me because Summer has put up with me being on the road, and dealing with the music business and touring, it’s not easy. So, I always dedicate this one to Summer, my wife. She’s still around 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 stands for forever, without saying forever. I love “Seven Spanish Angels” by Willie and Ray Charles, who has always been one of my favorite artists. So the lines ‘when seven Spanish angels come take me away’ and ‘Texas runs out Strait’ bring more of a music aspect to it. As an artist, you’re kind of having fun saying all these song titles. That’ll be the day I stop dancing with you, ‘when heaven gets a new pair of boots.’ If you don’t know how to dance, you can still 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 every now and then? We were on a writer’s trip in Texas, we were playing Whitewater Amphitheater and we had a house overlooking the Amphitheater. We saw a crew guy go down and light up by the Guadalupe, and Rhett just started singing ‘Smokin’ a doobie on the Guadalupe,’ and I loved it. We wrote that song in a couple of hours the next day. It’s about taking your cares away, letting it all go, relaxing, and floating down a river or in a lake. It’s got great instrumentation from the fiddles. It’s very Texas, where we were at the time, sippin’ on Lonestar. It’s a special song to me, I like the “no rules” of it and the “whatever, I’m going to have a good time.”

 14. “Reverse Cowgirl” – Written by Zack Dyer, Joe Fox and Jared Scott

This is a beautifully written song and romantic song. But it’s a fun song, and it’ll make you think a bit. It’s a guy that just wants his cowgirl back. It has a lot of great imagery, and everybody likes them taillights coming back. From the fiddles to the real sincere melody, it’s a really pretty song. I think everybody’s gonna really dig it. It caught me off guard. We wanted to turn heads, and we knew people would go, “what is this about?” It’s got that loneliness in it that I think everybody clings to in a song. 

Courtesy UMG

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