Parker McCollum: ‘Gold Chain Cowboy’ – Album Review

Parker McCollum’s new album Gold Chain Cowboy, out now July 30th, serves as his major-label full album debut. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the 10-track project.

McCollum opens the album with the upbeat number “Wait Outside” written by McCollum, Jon Randall (who produced it), and Randy Rodgers. While identifiably country, there are hints of alternative rock in the production and McCollum’s vocal delivery.

The second track is “Dallas” – a heartfelt country-rock moment featuring fellow Texan Danielle Bradberry. Her harmony is sweet and subtle, and the use of organs in the song is very compelling.

To Be Loved By You” is McCollum’s current single to country radio, and to put it quite simply, something about the song truly makes it absolutely addicting. “Hell, maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong // Finding out why shouldn’t take this long // Easier said than done, I guess // I’m a little bit harder to love than the rest”. The lyrics fall off the tongue so effortlessly, even if a little bit angry and pleading – it makes you want to listen to the song again and again.

What Parker McCollum does best on Gold Chain Cowboy is refrain from sounding like everyone else on country radio. On the record, there are moments intense enough to remind one of Death Cab for Cutie; lyrics as evocative as Jason Isbell; and phrasing as existential as John Mayer.

“I want to have Luke Bryan success, singing Chris Knight-caliber songs,” he shares in a press release. “To have longevity, you can’t sacrifice integrity to get on the radio. People know the difference, look at Willie, look at Strait. I knew I could do Texas and never leave, or come to Nashville and do the pop-country thing. My goal is to ride the middle.”

You hear all of that on a song like “Falling Apart”, which lives in the middle of the album. A Miranda Lambert co-write, you can hear they are songwriters from Texas who also love their 80s music. For fans of Mayer’s recent album Sob Rock, this is a must-listen.

“Heart Like Mine” is a standout, with a rhythm that is classically Americana and lyrics that leave you aching. The drums are soft, and the harmonies add just the right amount of depth that is needed.

“With ‘Heart Like Mine,’ I’d had that first verse for four years”, McCollum says. “I’d been saving it, because I always knew it was special. I’d almost pulled it out a couple of times in co-writes that weren’t working. But I knew not to. When I sat down with Tony, I knew he was the one. I told him those lines, and he went, ‘That’s fucking badass.’ We finished it in an hour… It was unbelievable.”

“Rest Of My Life” is a solo McCollum write, and it’s incredibly introspective. “I’m shakin’ like winter but I just can’t eat // It’s just one of those late nights that I’m never gonna beat //And I lay down for a moment and my eyes start closin’ // I can’t help but wonder why, yeah it’s just the rest of my life”. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find clarity, and that is definitely apparent in this song.

Gold Chain Cowboy is sonically more polished than his first two albums, but the heart of it stays the same. He is young but well-traveled. The album is equal parts Texas and Tennessee, and that combination makes it all the more successful. For an album that walks the line of an identity crisis to finding yourself all over again, there is a precision and cohesiveness to the record that makes it clear why McCollum is country music’s next big thing.

Gold Chain Cowboy Tracklist:

  1. Wait Outside (Parker McCollum, Jon Randall, Randy Rogers
  2. Dallas ft. Danielle Bradbery (Parker McCollum, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers)
  3. To Be Loved By You (Parker McCollum, Rhett Akins)
  4. Drinkin’ (Parker McCollum, Lee Miller)
  5. Falling Apart (Parker McCollum, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, Randy Rogers)
  6. Heart Like Mine (Parker McCollum, Tony Lane, Ben West)
  7. Why Indiana (Parker McCollum, Erik Dylan, Randy Montana)
  8. Rest Of My Life (Parker McCollum)
  9. Pretty Heart (Parker McCollum, Randy Montana)
  10. Never Loved You At All (Parker McCollum, Corey Crowder, Brian Kelley)

Our Picks:

  1. “Heart Like Mine”
  2. “To Be Loved By You”
  3. “Rest Of My Life”

Parker McCollum makes his major-label debut with his new album ‘Gold Chain Cowboy.’

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Gold Chain Cowboy is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.