"Ain't Always the Cowboy" is on track to be Jon Pardi's second number one from Heartache Medication, and the California native reveals it's also something more -- a little tip of the hat to Tim McGraw and King George.
"It's definitely got some influence from, probably some George Strait," he reflects, "and it's a little more rockin' too, you know. We really souped up 'Ain't Always the Cowboy.' We wanted it to be emotional."
Thanks to an unexpected "Western Version" of the song, the hit takes on even more depth.
"If you listen to each version, from the 'Western Version' to the single version," Jon explains, "it was really fun to take something where it was like really kind of rockin' and we had to really break it down. And then it becomes like a really intimate song and it builds and builds."
"I didn't see the other version coming," he admits.
For the newly-married Pardi, the track's always been a favorite, even if he didn't write it.
"I just thought the song was great. I thought the lyrics were there and it was a great fresh idea that hasn't been [sung] before, and I look for that," Jon says. "I always said it was kind of like 'Just to See You Smile' or 'She'll Leave You with a Smile.'"
"It was that kind of thing, but it's just got a little more grit, a little more cowboy tough," he adds.
Jon's third album, featuring its chart-topping title track "Heartache Medication," was nominated for both CMA and ACM Album of the Year in 2020.
By Stephen Hubbard
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