Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Parker McCollum Talks Writing New Music, Becoming A Dad, And Some Of His Favorite Restaurants On The Road

Parker McCollum is a country music singer-songwriter from Texas who began his musical career at the age of 16. Parker was inspired by his older brother Tyler and the music he was writing and performing. He began performing at open mic events and soon was booking small venues.

After college, Parker continued to perform as a singer-songwriter and he went on his first tour with the Texas band Six Market Blvd. The tour inspired the lyrics for his first single, “Highway” which was later included on his debut EP, A Red Town View (2013.)  His next two studio albums were The Limestone Kid (2015) and Probably Wrong (2017). Probably Wrong was his first release to appear on the Billboard charts, debuting at No. 14 on Independent Albums.

After signing with a new record label in 2019, Parker completed two more albums. The first was Gold Chain Cowboy (2021) which was certified Gold, and won him the New Male Artist of the Year at the American Country Music Awards. The album sparked the name for his fan club, Gold Chain Nation. His next album Never Enough, was released in 2023 and embodies the individualistic country sound Parker strives to have. 

Parker is currently on his Burn It Down Tour, based off of his song of the same name that he wrote with the Love Junkies. The tour began in January in Washington and will end back home in Texas on August 31st. Supporting guests will be Corey Kent, Warren Zeiders, Catie Offerman, among others.

You can also find Parker at a handful of music festivals this year including: The Smoke Show, Gulf Coast Jam, Nebraskaland Days, Country Jam, Windy City Smokeout, Rock The South, County Line, and more. Parker is currently working on new music and hopes to have a new single out by this summer.

We got to chat with Parker McCollum about his favorite steakhouses across the country, what he hopes to teach his new baby on the way, and his must-have items while traveling on tour. 

Parker McCollum Talks Writing New Music and Becoming A Dad
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

You’re out on the Burn It Down Tour right now. So far, what’s been a highlight?

We’ve had some shows that have really made me think that there’s more to be had for my career. I think that’s the biggest highlight is I’ve realized that we really have built something from the ground up that I really am proud of. It kind of took the Burn It Down tour for us, headlining these arenas for me to go, ‘You know, it’s no small thing, especially when you look at where I came from.’

I was the least promising prospect when I graduated high school to go on and be a successful country singer. That’s really been the highlight of the tour for me, it’s kind of made me realize I should be proud of what I’ve done. You should be proud of what you’ve built doing it the hard way, the long way from the ground up. That’s been a nice side dish on the tour.

What’s your favorite song to play each night?

Right now, probably “Burn It Down.” That’s just current. It’s new and it’s fresh and still feels new to me.

You’ve toured all over the world. Have you found any hidden gems that you would tell people to visit?

Halls Chophouse in Columbia, South Carolina. The number one steakhouse in the country. Unbelievable. It was perfect. There is a steakhouse in New York City called Smith & Wollensky. I’ve got 18 bottles of their house steak sauce in my pantry right now. Terry Black’s BBQ on Barton Springs Boulevard in Austin, Texas. It’s the number one barbecue restaurant in the country, bar none. Sides, moist brisket, secondary meats, desserts. It is perfect. It’s unbelievable.

Parker McCollum Talks Writing New Music and Becoming A Dad
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

People might fight you over that.

Yeah, they tried to. I’m like, look, I’ve been traveling the country for ten years eating everywhere I go. There’s nothing as good. I’m telling you. It’s that good every time. It’s like Cane’s chicken. It’s just as good every time. 

I saw you last week at CRS at The Ryman. You mentioned Hit Record Ranch and writing sessions that you do there. What’s inspiring you to write right now and what’s going to be on your upcoming album?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know. I mean, at least once a day, sometimes several times a day, I go back in my mind to some part of my childhood or teen years or early 20’s. I realized everyday over again that those days are never ever coming back. No matter what you do, how much money you have, they are gone. So, it breaks my heart about once a day. I’ve been writing a lot of songs about that, mostly. 

Then, you know, the song I played at the Ryman, “Big Ol’ Fancy House.” I have the greatest wife on the planet. I mean, I’m the happiest human being of all time that’s married. She is amazing. She wasn’t home and we have this big, nice house, and I had Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey in my house. They’d flown in to write for a couple days, and they were really about to leave. I’d been playing this melody a little bit, and Lori McKenna is really, really good. 

She was like, ‘Hey, every time I write, I just mumble, just freestyle until something cool comes out. That’s how I’ve written every song I’ve ever written.’ Then I said, ‘This big ol’ empty house is eating me alive.’ She was like, ‘Damn. write that right now.’ We wrote the entire thing very quickly. Those are the best songs, the ones that fall out. It just doesn’t always happen like that, although it’s been happening a little bit more lately. I think it’s just because I’ve had this renewed energy and focus for songwriting.

I didn’t write a song for ten months. I didn’t even try to, didn’t even really sit down and play guitar for ten months. Now I haven’t put it down for about 60 days straight. 

When can people expect new music?

I know we’ve got to have a song out by this summer. They want to go with a single off a new record, which is good because it allows me to move on to the next project. If it was a single off of Never Enough, this record I put out last year, it’d be a whole year until you were on to another song for another record. 

I go in the studio this month. I’ve got 20 songs I’ve written that I want to cut. I’m gonna cut probably 6 or 7 of my favorites and then go back on the road and pick whichever one is the best song, I think, and put it out on country radio sometime this summer.

You’re going to be welcoming a child soon. Is there anywhere you’re looking forward to traveling with the new baby? Maybe somewhere you went when you were growing up?

Oh, gosh. I see people traveling with kids all the time. I’m not going to tell them about Disney World. I’m just not going to tell them. That way, we never have to go. No. I’m kidding. The biggest thing I’m excited about is teaching them how to ride a horse, teaching them how to run a tractor, teaching them how to skin a deer, and catching his first fish. 

It’s cliche, as all those things are, but that’s really what I think about. I don’t think about taking them to travel the world, you know? I’ll probably take them skiing. That would be fun when he’s a little kid. Probably miserable, skiing with a kid. I can’t wait to buy him his first dirt bike, his first four-wheeler, his first fishing pole, first gun, his first horse, first saddle. I think about all that stuff. That’s what I’m excited about.

What do you do in your downtime on the road?

Sleep, sleep and sleep. I play golf. I usually get up really early so I can go play golf, and then I have to sleep before the show. 

Do you have any favorite courses? 

I mean, it’s hard to say. I don’t like anything more than I like Augusta National and Whispering Pines. Those are definitely my two favorites.

What’s your perfect day in Texas?

A perfect day would be Hallie Ray and our dog Ruger driving out to the ranch. I would be on the tractor, the skid steer, or maybe just fishing. But you know, work all day, she’s cooking up something good for dinner. Then come inside, shower, eat dinner with her, maybe watch a basketball game or football game. That’s the perfect day.

What’s your team?

Anything Houston. I like LeBron a lot, so I watch the Lakers. You know, when he was in Miami and in Cleveland he was as close to Michael Jordan as I think we’ll ever see. He’s been really really good for a really long time. I can remember, I was probably 12 or 13 years old, and we were walking into the house in our ranch in Groesbeck, Texas, and my older brother was in high school. He said, ‘You gotta check out this new kid, LeBron James. He’s the next Michael Jordan.’ 

From that moment on, I was obsessed with him. I’ve been in more arguments than I can even care to remember about him. Now I’m a grown man, so I don’t obsess over him nearly as much, but I do still tune in to watch him play basketball.

Parker McCollum Talks Writing New Music and Becoming A Dad
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What are your must pack items when you’re on tour or traveling?

I’m really easy. I really only drink water. I always drink a Celsius or something in the mornings. ZYN pouches. Gotta have the ZYN pouches. I have an entire drawer on my bus with just ZYN pouches. I gotta have my starch jeans, little caffeine, little nicotine. I’m such a boring person on the road because I just don’t need much. 

I’m a bus guy. I like to stay on my bus and I’ve gotten it down to where I can pretty much just wear a t- shirt every night, and it’s completely acceptable. I really don’t keep a lot of stuff on the bus as far as food goes. It’s just so hard to eat well on the road. 

I just stopped going to a dry cleaner who brought my jeans back with a crease down the middle of them. I thought it was so weird.

Oh yeah. See, that’s how I do them. I crease them right down the middle. Look at any picture of me on stage. There’s more starch in my jeans than in all of that dry cleaners’. When I was living in Nashville for a couple of years, the one thing I missed more than anything was the dry cleaners here. I mean, it’s called double extra heavy starch creases down the middle.

I just discovered Buc-ee’s last year. What is your must have truck stop item?

If I’m going to Buc-ee’s, I’m probably gonna make a poor decision and get their chicken strips with french fries, gravy, and a humongous fountain Coke.

Latest

311 Caribbean Cruise Returns March 2025

311 and Sixthman have announced the 311 Caribbean Cruise...

Country Thunder Brings The Heat To Arizona With Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll And More

Country Thunder (CT) hosts festivals in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida,...

BARK Launches BARK Air to Offer Premium Flights for Dogs

BARK, a leading global brand dedicated to keeping dogs...

Coachella 2024 Day 3: Doja Cat Wins It All And J Balvin Is Abducted By Aliens

Coachella Sunday’s are always when it starts to feel...

Newsletter

Don't miss

311 Caribbean Cruise Returns March 2025

311 and Sixthman have announced the 311 Caribbean Cruise...

Country Thunder Brings The Heat To Arizona With Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll And More

Country Thunder (CT) hosts festivals in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida,...

BARK Launches BARK Air to Offer Premium Flights for Dogs

BARK, a leading global brand dedicated to keeping dogs...

Coachella 2024 Day 3: Doja Cat Wins It All And J Balvin Is Abducted By Aliens

Coachella Sunday’s are always when it starts to feel...

Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival Kicks off April 19th

Over one million blooms will be on display when...
Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

311 Caribbean Cruise Returns March 2025

311 and Sixthman have announced the 311 Caribbean Cruise is returning for its eighth sailing March 26-31, 2025 aboard the Norwegian Gem. The voyage...

Country Thunder Brings The Heat To Arizona With Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll And More

Country Thunder (CT) hosts festivals in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Bristol, Alberta, and Saskatchewan during the year. Country music has hit a momentous popularity throughout...

BARK Launches BARK Air to Offer Premium Flights for Dogs

BARK, a leading global brand dedicated to keeping dogs happy, has partnered with a jet charter to launch BARK Air. BARK Air addresses the...