Simplicity makes Pardi a RodeoHouston standout
Sometimes, all you need is a simple country song. And a good ol’ country singer.
Jon Pardi fit that bill Wednesday night at RodeoHouston. He’s the most traditional country act to take the rotating stage so far this year.
Pardi looked the part, too. He was dapper in a blue blazer and brown cowboy hat and accessorized with a pair of guitars. This was his first show of 2023 and second rodeo appearance.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he told the crowd of 62,009. “I needed this more than you know.”
His songs — “What I Can’t Put Down,” “Heartache Medication,” “Mr. Saturday Night” — are no-frills country in the best way. No EDM flourishes. No rap verses. But there’s still enough variety in his catalog to keep things interesting.
He put a sway in his hips during “Night Shift.” Phone lights flickered across the stadium during the slow-dance strains of “She Ain’t in It.” An effortless groove carried “Last Night Lonely.”
Guitarist and Houston native Terry Lee Palmer joined Pardi for “Beer Can’t Fix.” Palmer, in an Astros jersey, was a solid substitute for Thomas Rhett, who duets with Pardi on the original.
“Tequila Little Time” danced along a beach groove. “Neon Light Speed” was made for a barroom slow dance and had couples shuffling in the aisles. “Your Heart or Mine” channeled a bit of Garth Brooks.
Simple things. But it’s that simplicity, especially apparent during “Dirt On My Boots” and “Head Over Boots,” that makes Pardi a standout among so much country music drivel. He doesn’t have to sing about how country he is. He just is.