Up and coming country music star Jon Pardi may be a new face at the CMA Awards, but the man certainly knows how to create a hit song.
The 32-year-old musician grew up in Dixon, California, where he admired his favorite Nashville artists from afar. "I went to preschool saying my name is Randy Travis," Jon tells Ikaroo.info. Now the artist is drawing on his rural west coast upbringing as he launches a career in country music—and so far, it's working. At the , Jon himself is nominated for New Artist of the Year while his single, "Dirt On My Boots," is nominated for Single of the Year and Song of the Year.
The hit single "Dirt on My Boots" is just one of the many toe-tapping tracks on Jon's second studio album, . The record tends to focus on farm life—and having a blast when the work day is done, of course. Of all the songs nominated for Single of the Year, it's probably the chart topper that resonates with country folks the most. "I think it's the cadence of it," Jon says when asked about the tune's popularity. "And it's about hard work, getting off, and getting ready to go out. That happens every week—everybody gets off work, then decides to do something that weekend, and have a good time."
The track, which was written by Rhett Akins (who also happens to be the father of Male Vocalist of the Year nominee Thomas Rhett), Jesse Frasure, and Ashley Gorley, instantly connected with Jon. "It reminded me of myself before I moved to Nashville," Jon says. "I would get off the tractor, get cleaned up, and go out ready to have a good time."
And for Jon, the song is exactly what country music should be: down-to-earth, personal, and familiar. "That's why I love country music—everyone and all the music is so relatable."
The CMA Awards air Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.