5 Years Ago: Jon Pardi Releases ‘California Sunrise’
Jon Pardi earned four Top 40 singles off his debut Capitol Nashville album, 2014's Write You a Song, but his sophomore record took his career to new heights. That project, California Sunrise, arrived five years ago today, on June 17, 2016.
Pardi returned to Bart Butler as his co-producer for California Sunrise, but with a renewed focus on blending traditional country elements into his sound and style. Songs-wise, that meant "looking for a good story ... [with] lyrics that at first make you think it’s about one thing, but it’s really about something so much more," as Pardi described at the time.
Pardi recorded California Sunrise live in studio, with a seven-piece band. "I’m a big fan of a live band recording, and it was really important for me to get that sound on my record," he shared in 2016, noting that there's "something special" about recording in that fashion, and that "[t]he heart of this record comes across with a live band."
Fans' first peek at California Sunrise came in September of 2015, when Pardi released "Head Over Boots" as the project's lead single. The song became his first No. 1 country airplay single, and has been certified triple-platinum as of August of 2020.
One year later, Pardi doubled down on the boots theme, releasing "Dirt on My Boots" to country radio. It, too, went to the top of the airplay charts, and earned CMA Awards nominations for Single and Song of the Year in 2017. In December of 2019, it was certified triple platinum.
"Heartache on the Dance Floor," Pardi's third single from California Sunrise, peaked at No. 3 after its May 2017 release to country radio, and was certified double platinum in December of 2019. A fourth single, "She Ain't in It" (released in October of 2017), stalled just outside the Top 20 (No. 21), while "Night Shift," the fifth and final single from the album, went to No. 5 after its July 2018 release (it's also certified gold as of March of 2019).
As a whole, California Sunrise went to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart — his only chart-topping album to date. The record also charted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum.
ACM Awards voters noticed the album, too, nominated the project for Album of the Year in 2018. One year prior, Pardi had earned the New Male Vocalist of the Year trophy at the ACMs — and New Artist of the Year at the CMAs.
Pardi's fellow artists took notice as well, inviting him to open their tours in 2016 and beyond. That year, Pardi was on the road with Kip Moore, for Moore's Me and My Kind Tour, while in 2017, he played with Dierks Bentley (the What the Hell World Tour), Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (their Soul2Soul Tour) and Luke Bryan (that year's Farm Tour).
The year 2017 also brought Pardi an opportunity to headline. In partnership with CMT on Tour, he launched the Lucky Tonight Tour that October.
Just over three years after California Sunrise's release, Pardi followed with his third studio album, Heartache Medication, released in September of 2019.
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