Jon Pardi’s boots have been getting a real workout since he arrived in Nashville from the Northern California farm town of Dixon 12 years ago with dreams of country music stardom, but perhaps no more so than in the last year.
After years in the songwriting trenches, Pardi put his craft to work and scored a 2016 hit with “Head Over Boots” and another footwear-friendly smash, “Dirt On My Boots.” Those led to an Academy of Country Music Award for best new male vocalist and a performance slot on the show in March, making Pardi a 12-year overnight sensation.
It helps that he’s got a regular dream team behind him. In a somewhat unusual arrangement, C3 Management’s Charlie Walker, based in Austin, partnered with Coran Capshaw and Red Light Management, which has a Nashville office. Melanie Wetherbee came on board to direct Pardi’s day-to-day management from an all-important Music City base.
“For what Jon does, we needed that great infrastructure in Nashville,” Walker told Pollstar. “I was lucky to partner with Coran, and Melanie Wetherbee does an awesome job for us every day with Jon, who has such a strong instinct about what he is and who he is as an artist.”
Wetherbee got Pardi into the right places at the right times. After honing his songwriting craft over several years, Pardi earned a showcase attended by Capitol Nashville President/CEO Mike Dungan, who quickly signed him.
“Within the Nashville community, people knew him well,” Wetherbee told Pollstar. “But with the last album there’s been a tipping point with radio and he was more accepted having a No. 1 hit. The timing was just right.”
CAA Nashville’s Kylen Sharpe has been shaping the strategy for Pardi on the road, getting him on tours supporting Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson and others, while plugging in some one-offs in between those dates and festivals including Stagecoach.
“I really believed that with a little more strategy in touring, we could build on it,” Sharpe told Pollstar. “We’ve been really strategic with his own shows and being conscious and sensitive about his ticket price, the markets, and how he’s playing it. He’s going out with Dierks Bentley this year, and we’ll have some more things to announce in the coming months that are really exciting.”