Album review: Jon Pardi “Mr. Saturday Night”

Georgie Thorogood has been catching up on some listening time with Jon Pardi’s recently-released 14 track album, Mr. Saturday Night. And, as she says, there’s minimal “bro-country” to be heard.

Jon Pardi new album

Here’s what Georgie had to say about the CMA and ACM Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer’s fourth studio album:

Kicking off the 14-song collection on Pardi’s fourth studio album is the title-track. A traditional, bluesy country song, its play on lyrics (Mr. Saturday Night and Missed Her Saturday Night) makes it a little more fun, and it is an easy listening, albeit fairly generic, track which cements Pardi as an authentic country artist. Full marks to the beautifully-shot bar-room video which accompanies it.

Following this with Fill ‘Er Up, a more honky-tonk tune, does nothing to dispute this. The change in tempo halfway through this second track, which has a great keys/instrumental intro, makes it an interesting song for the listeners.

Last Night Lonely (essentially a rehash of several existing country songs, most notably Single Saturday Night from Cole Swindell) and New Place to Drink are both very generic, male-sung country songs. From writing numbers on napkins to cowboys and jukeboxes, there is little which is original about these two tracks, although that is not to say they aren’t a good listen.

Nestled in between these two songs is Neon Light Speed, still a good ol’ regular country song, this has a more bluesy twang to it, a slightly slower tempo and breaks up the samey vibe that has been running through the album thus far. Thankfully, one of the regular themes has been some great fiddle & strings throughout all of the songs.

Your Heart or Mine signals a rockier sound, a little darker with a great electric guitar solo and interesting use of synth and overproduced vocals for effect in key moments of the song.

Santa Cruz feels like a road trip song, evoking images of setting off across a long desert road with the top down and the wind rushing by. Next up is Long Neck Way to Go, the duet released this summer with Midland. As far as duet partners go, this is a perfect pairing and the Texas sound runs strongly through the song.

Opening with strings, Raincheck is again reusing a tried and tested country song theme – a heartbroken man wallowing in self-pity. He’s taking a rain-check on getting over his heartbreak and moving on, allowing himself to feel sorry for himself for an evening. Not a bad song but a little predictable. 

Workin’ on a New One is much more interesting and has a distinct Shania Twain vibe. Written alongside Rhett Akins and Luke Laird (some top-class writers), this would be great as a single.

Hung the Moon kicks off with Marlboro Red and boots by the bed, more standard country song fayre, but it’s a love song with a nice melody and key. The Day I Stop Dancing is much more poppy than most of the album. It uses interesting keys early on and has a beautiful fiddle solo. “When Texas runs out of Strait and Memphis stops playing the blues, that’s the day I stop dancing with you” is a great lyric for a love song, and whilst it suits Jon Pardi’s voice, you can also imagine it being sung by a much more commercial/pop artist like Thomas Rhett.

Akins and Laird join up with Pardi again for Smokin’ a Doobie. It’s a fun song and some effort has been put into the lyrics here with some interesting rhyming (Smokin’ a Doobie on the Guadalupe)! It’s very Mexican and twangy.

The final song on the album is Reverse Cowgirl, and it’s a favourite. A pretty intro leads into some fairly restrained and delicate production. It’s the most gentle song on the album, with a bit of nostalgia, lost love and some great fiddle playing. It’s an interesting and effective way to round off what is a very easy listening album.

Whilst the themes are pretty standard, the songs fairly generic, Pardi always gives the impression of being a really good guy. With this in mind, his fans are sure to get behind him and make this a great album for him to play live.

Mr. Saturday Night is available via Snakefarm in the UK and streaming services.

Track List:
1. “Mr. Saturday Night” (Benjy Davis, Reid Isbell, Joe Ragosta)
2. “Fill ‘Er Up” (Jon Pardi, Ross Copperman, Brice Long)
3. “Last Night Lonely” (Jimi Bell, Joe Fox, Dylan Marlowe)
4. “Neon Light Speed” (Andy Albert, Josh Dorr, Paul DiGiovanni)
5. “New Place To Drink” (Jon Pardi, Jessie Jo Dillon, Luke Laird)
6. “Your Heart Or Mine” (Bart Butler, Justin Ebach, John Pierce)
7. “Santa Cruz” (Jon Pardi, Luke Laird)
8. “Longneck Way To Go” (Midland featuring Jon Pardi) (Rhett Akins, Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Ashley Gorley, Mark Wystrach)
9. “Raincheck” (Will Bundy, John Edwards, Michael Tyler)
10. “Workin’ On A New One” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Luke Laird)
11. “Hung The Moon” (Will Bundy, John Morgan, Jameson Rodgers)
12. “The Day I Stop Dancin’” (Bart Butler, Justin Ebach, Josh Thompson)
13. “Smokin’ A Doobie” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Luke Laird)
14. “Reverse Cowgirl” (Zack Dyer, Joe Fox, Jared Scott)
Produced by Bart Butler, Ryan Gore and Jon Pardi

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