By Emily Wagner
Every note, perfect, every word, purposeful. There is nothing over the top or any unnecessary production from Parker McCollum’s latest EP Hollywood Gold.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to longtime Parker fans. The Texas native’s sound has certainly grown over the years, but there’s a comforting feel to music that doesn’t try too hard, it simply speaks for itself.
This is Parker’s first project with MCA Nashville, after finding success in the Texas country music scene (which is awesome, by the way). He couldn’t have picked a better song to introduce himself to the rest of the country with than “Pretty Heart.”
The song was released in 2019 and has reached the top 10 on the US Country AirPlay Chart, and it was certified gold. The song was cowritten by McCollum and Randy Montana during McCollum’s first cowrite in Nashville. The idea was sprung from a voice recording Parker had from 5 or 6 years ago, saved on his phone, and it grew into the song that is launching his career to the next level.
McCollum has a strong sense of who he is and the music he wants to put out, honest and real. With “Young Man’s Blues” he struggles with impending adulthood and the nostalgia for your youth. “Like A Cowboy” is the best song on the album in my opinion. I can already hear it incorporated somewhere in the next season of Yellowstone. It hits all the right notes, you can hear every instrument, and every word comes off as authentic.
The solemn “Hold Me Back” is a dark, melancholic song about heartbreak, sounds like a smoky dive bar, empty except for a singer and a guitar. It is a mood only explainable by listening to it.
Considering “Pretty Heart” was inspired by an ex-girlfriend, Parker made it up to his now girlfriend, with her own song “Hallie Ray Light.” Along with the last song on the album “Love You Like That” we see Parker really dig into his own thoughts and insecurities when it comes to the balance of a career and a relationship. The honesty and relatability throughout the album is a consistent theme, something that country music fans have a thirst for, and luckily are getting more of thanks to young acts like Parker.
The only complaint? We all know McCollum has enough songs for a full length album. With his star rising higher, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Part 2 album released next year.