Parker McCollum In Concert
with Special Guest: Kyle Park
Date: Saturday, August 7 - 8:00 pm
Country superstars aren't made overnight. Not the ones that last, at least. Instead, they're built the old-school way: show by show, fan by fan, and song by song. Just ask Parker McCollum, the Texas native and relentless road warrior whose success is the result of hard work, honest songwriting, and a lifelong dedication to creating real country music.
Raised outside Houston in Conroe, TX, Parker began selling out venues in his home state long before he released his first major-label single, "Pretty Heart." From the start, he was something different: a larger-than-life musician who blended the raw, honest songwriting of his Texas heroes with the pop-friendly polish of his Nashville contemporaries. It was a sound forged from the best parts of both worlds, glued by together by a young star whose work ethic had been shaped by the childhood summers he spent on his grandfather's ranch in Limestone County, waking up early every morning to take care of the cattle.
Parker's musical tastes were influenced by his family, too, from his grandfather's love of golden-age country music — including icons like Porter Wagoner and George Strait — to the left-of-center albums by Todd Snider, Chris Knight, and Rodney Crowell that his brother would gift him at Christmas. By the time Parker turned 14 years old, he wasn't just daydreaming about a career in music; he was actively preparing for it, sharpening his guitar playing, harmonica skills, and songwriting chops while others his age were still playing Little League.
"I wanted to be a successful country musician and a good songwriter, and I understood the path I needed to take to get there," says Parker. "It all comes down to respect — respecting country music, respecting those who came before you, and respecting your opportunities. At a young age, I realized how important it was to be genuine, honest, and respectful, and to outwork everybody."
These days, the hard work is paying off. With 2020's Hollywood Gold, Parker shines a light not only on his respect for country music, but also his ability to breathe fresh life into familiar sounds. Produced by Jon Randall Stewart, the EP's six songs — five of which were co-written by Parker — brim with sharp storytelling, supersized hooks, and modern-day country charisma, with Parker saluting the best parts of the genre while confidently sidestepping its cliches. There are no songs about trucks. No rapped verses about back roads. No electronic arrangements that sound more appropriate for a dance club than a honky tonk. Instead, Parker creates a contemporary version of a timeless sound, singing universal songs about love, heartbreak, the lure of the past, and the promise of the future.
"If I'm going to sing these songs every night, I've gotta mean the things I'm singing about," says the 28 year-old, whose busy tour schedule has found him playing an average of 140 shows annually for more than half a decade. "I can't fake it."
On "Young Man's Blues," he waxes nostalgic as he drives to his old stomping grounds, knowing he'll never be able to shake the memory of the home that built him. On the anthemic "Pretty Heart" — a massive hit on streaming services like Spotify, where the song has easily outpaced singles by veteran chart-toppers — he takes a hard look at himself after a rough breakup, knowing he's the one to blame for the split. "Hallie Ray Light" finds him wooing a new lover about buoyant melodies and cyclical guitar riffs, while "Like a Cowboy" — written by Chris Stapleton — tells the story of a larger-than-life character who resembles his own grandfather, with Parker delivering the lyrics as though he wrote every syllable.
Hollywood Gold is named after his grandfather's prized horse. A mythic character who was born during the Great Depression and eventually became the youngest judge elected in the state of Texas, Parker's grandfather truly embodied the American Dream. His tenacity was inspirational to the young Parker, who grew up hearing stories about his grandfather's exploits, including the purchase of an Australian stallion who was prohibitively costly…but worth every cent.
"My granddad couldn't afford the horse at the time, but he knew Hollywood Gold was a top-dollar animal and just had to have it," says Parker. "He was a brilliant businessman who took chances on things he was passionate about and didn't let anyone hold him back. He lived every single day of his life like that. Whenever I'm discouraged, I think about how he'd always tell me to put my head down and keep swinging. Releasing an EP like Hollywood Gold is no different. I'm just trying to hit a home run. I keep swinging."
Parker McCollum isn't just swinging; he's connecting. With praise from Rolling Stone (who likened the "no-holds-barred, confessional singer-songwriter" to one of his longtime influences, John Mayer) and American Songwriter (who commended Parker for balancing "on the edge of next-level superstardom, taking cues from rule breakers like Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves"), he's already sold out iconic venues like Billy Bob's while building a loyal, cross-country audience of Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials. This is music that crosses generations, performed with conviction and charm by country music's newest superstar.
Show by show, fan by fan, and song by song, Parker McCollum keeps swinging.