Jon Pardi is getting ready to release a new set of tunes. The “When I’ve Been Drinking” singer has been busy out on the road the past few months and hasn’t had the time to cut new tracks in the studio. However, both Pardi and his management company are well aware of the demand for new music. It’s been 14 months since Pardi released his debut album, Write You a Song and it’s been even longer since Pardi found himself as a regular member of the charts. The five track B-Sides EP is due out on May 19 and features songs that just missed the cut for that debut, but if we learned anything from Cole Swindell’s EP, Down Home Sessions, there’s sure to be some hidden gems found here. Pardi wrote or co-wrote the entirity of the record, which explains why his biggest fans are likely to be familiar with some of the songs.
1. “Fightin’ The Fool”
2. “Over My Head”
3. “Drinkin’ With Me”
4. “Back on the Backroads”
5. “Rainy Night Song”
6. “Borrowed Time”
After only releasing two singles from their last studio album, 10,000 Towns, Eli Young Band has released of Turn It On. The four song EP includes the title track as well as “Plastic,” “Your Place or Mine” and “Drink You Up.”
The title track and “Drink You Up” best capture what the group is trying to do with these releases. Straying from their trademark Eagles, southern and soft rock sound, both of these break new ground with a bro-country feel. They are repetitive, up-tempo, and lack the depth of many of the songs that made them so popular in the past. “Drink You Up’ is especially unique as it utilizes a modern drum beat and cliche lyrics.
“Your Place or Mine” and “Plastic,” are slightly more traditional but still different. “Plastic” could be a Florida Georgia Line cut with its easy-going beat and Joey Moi produced-esque guitar sounds. “Your Place or Mine” is probably the best and most familiar sounding song on the album. In a Rolling Stone interview, lead singer Mike Eli described the track as a prequel to their last no. 1 song, “Drunk Last Night.”
The success of the EP and its singles will determine where the group takes their careers from this point. None of the songs are bad per se, just extremely different and a drastic change from what we’ve heard in the past. If done in gradual steps this transition from 80s rock country to bro-country could have been seamless, but this sudden shift might be too much too fast. Every artist knows that they need to push boundaries and get lucky to hit the peak of stardom and avoid a career plateau, but these new songs are so out-of-character that it comes off as desperate. Although a single or two off of this EP will probably climb inside the top 15, it is hard to see it doing much more. Although different from their old sound, three of the four songs are too generic, in terms of the genre as a whole, to gain any real traction for a group trying to hit the next level of success.
For fans who haven’t heard of Cole Taylor, it’s time to take notice. After a long road from his hometown of Cuthbert, Georgia to Nashville, the 23 year old has released a new self titled EP. The EP consists of five songs, all of which were written or co-written by Taylor and previously available to listen to as demos on his website, ColeTaylorLive.com. Despite being a smaller name in the country music industry, the EP currently sits at number 5 on iTunes Top 100 country albums.
Country newcomer Kelsea Ballerini released her debut self-titled EP last week on Black River Entertainment. The five song sample includes her rising hit “Love Me Like You Mean It” and a number of other teenage friendly songs. The EP serves as a strong coming out party for an artist that some have gone as far to call the next Taylor Swift.
Dallas Smith might be new to country music, but he’s certainly not new to music. After ten years as the lead singer of the rock group Default, Smith transitioned into a country music. The genre was becoming exactly what he loved – lots of guitar based high energy anthems that allowed him to really connect. After making a trip down to Nashville in 2009 with Joey Moi (Producer Florida Georgia Line & Jake Owen), Smith began working on his debut country album.
Since then he has become a staple in Canadian country music with five straight top ten hits. His debut U.S. single “Tippin’ Point” reached the peak position on SiriusXM The Highway Hot 45 countdown and has gone on to sell over a hundred thousand copies worldwide. He recently completed work on his third EP Lifted which hits iTunes tomorrow and includes “Wastin’ Gas” a song that Music Row called “terrifically exciting.”
We caught up with Dallas Smith this week to talk about his shift from rock to country, life on the road with Florida Georgia Line, and of course his new EP Lifted.