Chris Stapleton Lends “Like A Cowboy” to Parker McCollum

You’re right to get a little worried whenever the hometown Texas kid gets gobbled up by a major label like Parker McCollum was last year by UMG Nashville. You never know exactly how all of that’s going to turn out, and the track record when looking at the long procession of Texas and Red Dirt artists heading to Tennessee is not exactly a good one.

There’s still plenty left to be determined since Parker hasn’t even released a proper album yet, and his first major label single called “Pretty Heart” sort of leaves any diagnosis indeterminate. But a new song he’s just released called “Like A Cowboy” is everything you want from the 27-year-old no matter who he’s signed with.

A heart pounding, slow and plodding beat with a heavy emotional component is where Parker McCollum does his greatest damage, and that’s what you get with “Like A Cowboy.” That’s been the setup for some of the greatest songs in his young career like “Hell of a Year” and “I Can’t Breathe,” giving him the strong grassroots support that led to him being signed by a major label in the first place.

“Like a Cowboy” comes with the additional wrinkle of having been written by Chris Stapleton with Al Anderson, which is unique in itself since heretofore, McCollum has written all of his own material, and a song by Stapleton isn’t exactly easy to come by or secure. A song about of the rough and tumble cowboy archetype, “Like a Cowboy” explains how you can’t always count on a cowboy to be around, but you can always rely on them to be themselves. It’s a cautionary tale to those at risk of falling in love with one, but in a way that feels poetic in its honesty.

No matter who wrote it, “Like a Cowboy” works expertly coming from Parker McCollum. You may look at the kid with his chiseled jaw line, and you can’t help but shallowly determine he can’t be all that deep, or that country. He’s like the country music version of a Ken doll. But he continues to prove his substance and quality, with a sincere love for country’s roots.

What’s different about the latest wave of Texas artists signing to major labels like Parker McCollum, Randall King, Cody Johnson, and others, is that they can learn from the mistakes that the first wave of Texas artists made, and the label reps can learn too that it’s foolish to attempt to mold these artists in Nashville’s image, instead of allowing them to be themselves and continue to do what proved to resonate so well in the Lone Star State.

Taking the writing of Chris Stapleton, and combining it with the unique style of Parker McCollum makes “Like a Cowboy” one hell of a track.

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