Parker McCollum Wants Luke Bryan Fame for Chris Knight Songs

There’s always a level of trepidation whenever a Texas born and bred songwriter gets sucked up by a big Music Row record label, and when Parker McCollum was signed to UMG Nashville, it was no different. The worry is always that Nashville will change what made an artist cool in the first place in order to optimize them for the commercial market.

But Parker McCollum is here to assure you he won’t be participating in such a maneuver. After the recent release of his new song called “Like A Cowboy” co-written by Chris Stapleton and Al Anderson—the first song McCollum’s recorded that he didn’t write or co-write himself—he was interviewed by American Songwriter, and assured his fans he has no intention of selling out, even if his aspirations remain high.

“I’m trying to make Luke Bryan money singing Chris Knight-caliber songs,” McCollum says. And instead of looking up to the Jason Aldeans and Kane Browns of the world, Parker says he’s taking his cues from folks like Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves who’ve found huge reception for their music despite a cold shoulder from country radio.

“[Those artists] have had massive success without anything goofy or [about] Friday night. They’re really just talented songwriters and selling out arenas. That’s the goal for me.”

The first song Parker McCollum released on the new label called “Pretty Heart” had some worried. But he says that’s about as far as he’ll ever go in that direction.

“I see people on the internet saying, ‘Oh, he’s going to Nashville. It’s commercial.’ ‘Pretty Heart’ is the closest thing on the album to commercial. The rest of the album I’ve written pretty much on my own. The album just sounds like the guy who wrote the other two [previous] records got better.”

“Pretty Heart” was co-written with songwriter Randy Montana, son of well-known songwriter Billy Montana.

“Randy helps me walk that line between my style, which is real Americana/singer-songwriter, and making it a bit more marketable. I needed that if I was trying to do this on that level, without sacrificing integrity or singing about backroads and beer or any of that stuff.”

Parker McCollum exploded in the Texas market for being easy on the eyes, but heavy on the heart, with songs that surprised you with their impact and depth. If he’s able to maintain that level of quality but greatly expand his already strong fan base, it would be another win for the good guys.

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