Pardi entertains with a little country and rock’n roll

ALPENA – Jon Pardi rocked the grandstands with a mix of classic country style and songs inspired by the events of his everyday life during the WATZ Listener Appreciation concert at the Alpena County Fair Tuesday night. Pardi started performing in bands at 14 years old, and has had a love of music all his life.

“When I was really young, during the summer we’d stay at my grandma’s, and she had a karaoke machine with the blank cassette tapes so you could sing along and record it,” Pardi said. “We did that a lot growing up, and she was a performer herself … she was always the life of the party, and I got some of that from her. She made it so much fun and I just kept going with it.”

Pardi said he learned to play guitar by taking a few lessons and teaching himself once he had the basics down. From there he took inspiration from classic influences like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, and looks to his everyday life and the lives of those around him when writing songs.

“I co-wrote all the songs but one on the album,” Pardi said. “I really miss songwriting right now. I’m actually doing a songwriting retreat in Texas next weekend. It’s a lot of fun. We get to write and have some film crews coming out to do a “behind the scenes” and see where I come from. When I tell people I’m from northern California, they think it’s a cutoff of Hollywood, but it’s farms and fields. I grew up on farms and fields and learned to rope and ride there.”

One of the things Pardi enjoys most is sharing his music with his fans. He said getting fans into the music and relating to his songs is a lot of fun.

“Songwriting is a big part,” Pardi said. “If you’re a songwriter, and you love what you’re doing, you can write for your live shows. I couldn’t just be a songwriter out writing songs on the couch, I want to get everybody riled up. I want to go play a show.”

Pardi has had the opportunity to open for many of his favorite country artists, including Dierks Bently, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jusin Moore and Thomas Rhett, and said everyone has been great to him, and he is inspired by their enthusiasm and love for what they do.

When it comes to writing music, Pardi said it’s all about finding the right tune, the right mood and the right theme and bringing life to a song through what it means to you.

“I come from a farm background, and we all listen to country,” Pardi said. “I had a rock and punk phase in high school, and I’m glad I went through that because now I mix them all together and get that high energy, classic sounding country with a bit of the new modern stuff that still sounds old school. When I write, I try to go for that sound. Hip hop in country is cool, but we don’t want to be overrun by all of it. There needs to be a balance of both.”

Pardi said one of his favorite songs on his album is his new single, “What I Can’t Put Down,” because it’s one of his favorites to play live, and people relate to it. As far as his future aspirations, Pardi said he loves what he’s doing now and wants to keep sharing music with his fans.

“I hope I can have a good long career and have lots of fans and lots of radio hits,” Pardi said. “I want to just keep going and maybe not be gone as much.”

Pardi was in Nashville Monday, flew into Detroit, and drove up with his band through the night, arriving in Alpena around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The next stop on his tour is the Whiskey Barrel Saloon in Lansing, then it’s off to Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Alabama through the end of August.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.