Texan singer-songwriter Parker McCollum is an artist who is very much on the rise. He released his debut single and EP in 2013 under his own PYM Music label and followed that up with the albums ‘The Limestone Kid’ in 2015 and ‘Probably Wrong’ in 2017. In 2019 he garnered wider attention when he teamed up with fellow Texan Danielle Bradbery for a cover of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s smash-hit ‘Shallow’, from the film ‘A Star is Born’. That same year McCollum signed with MCA Nashville (distributed by Snakefarm Records here in the UK) and scored a number one with his major label debut single ‘Pretty Heart’. Today McCollum releases his major label debut album ‘Gold Chain Cowboy’.
Produced by Jon Randall (who recently released his collaborative project ‘The Marfa Tapes’ with Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram), ‘Gold Chain Cowboy’ is a 10-song collection that sees McCollum co-writing every track (with the exception of ‘Rest of My Life’ which he wrote solo) with an impressive group of songwriters that includes Miranda Lambert, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder and Jon Randall. The end result is an album that is steeped in Texan Country, with a grittier and harder edge than the majority of what is dominating Country radio in the US right now.
The album opens with ‘Wait Outside’, a song that sets the tone for what’s to come and reels you in with its steady beat and McCollum’s distinctive voice. With plenty of energy, the song is a strong start as McCollum sings of unwavering and lasting love. ‘Dallas’ featuring backing vocals from Danielle Bradbery, changes the tempo and allows McCollum’s voice to really take the spotlight, particularly in the opening moments before the beat kicks in. He is truly a gifted vocalist with one of those voices that just conveys emotion with seeming ease. McCollum is so connected to the words he’s singing that the listener can’t help but caught up with him.
Current single ‘To Be Loved By You’ is a breezy summer rock anthem that features a strong hook and a memorable melody, while the rockier ‘Falling Apart’ (co-written with Lambert, Randall and Rogers) has a less polished production sounding more like a live cut, which makes it one of the highlights on the record. Elsewhere McCollum embraces the genre’s tendency for a heartfelt love song on the gorgeous ‘Heart Like Mine’, strips things back on the almost Green Day-like ‘Rest Of My Life’, and delivers a powerhouse modern Country moment on his number one Platinum smash ‘Pretty Heart’.
Album closer ‘Never Loved You At All’ is surprisingly – given it was co-written by FGL’s Brian Kelley – the most traditional moment on the record. It’s a twangy honky tonk tune that is sure to be a live highlight when McCollum manages to get over to the UK to perform.
On ‘Gold Chain Cowboy’ McCollum proves that he’s worthy of the hype that surrounds him. He’s helping to lead a movement that is shifting Country away from the influence of pop and R&B, and back to its traditional roots. That will ensure that he connects with fans of the traditional side of the genre but his youth and talent will help him win over younger modern Country fans too. Could we be witnessing the birth of the genre’s next big superstar? On the evidence of this record, it’s very possible.
Track list: 1. Wait Outside 2. Dallas (feat. Danielle Bradbery) 3. To Be Loved By You 4. Drinkin’ 5. Falling Apart 6. Heart Like Mine 7. Why Indiana 8. Rest Of My Life 9. Pretty Heart 10. Never Loved You At All Record label: Snakefarm Records Release date: 30th July 2021 Buy ‘Gold Chain Cowboy’ now