Songs I Grew Up On: Parker McCollum

In this installment of Songs I Grew Up On, The Nash News sat down with the 2022 ACM Nominee for New Male Artist of the Year, Parker McCollum.

The Texas Native shared that he is excited to get back on the road—the bus has become a home. McCollum joked, “It makes sense I was on the bus. That’s where I usually am,” when he was nominated.

Growing up in a country-music-loving family prepared him for the road life, with plenty of songs to listen to when he misses the simplicity of growing up and long drives to the river.

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  1. Amarillo By Morning, George Straight (1982)

This classic may have been where McCollum got his start songwriting. He explains how as a kid, his granddad would drive him to the ranch in Amarillo, “I would ask him to play that song over and over again. I would make up my own words.” Little did young Parker know, he was getting his first songwriting lessons from the best of the best.

  1. Pancho And Lefty, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson (1983)

Many of our favorite memories involve sitting around the family room watching music videos on television. Another life-shaping moment was when McCollum watched the “Pancho And Lefty” music video on the Great American Country channel. He asked his brother who Townes Van Zandt, the mysterious name under the song, was. “For any young songwriter, it’s a pretty big day when you discover who Townes Van Zandt is,” he laughed, looking back.

  1. When You Say Nothing At All, Allison Krauss (1999), Keith Whitley (1988)

There is just something special and unique about a cover song that truly sticks with you. McCollum shared that the first version of this song he had ever heard was Allison Krauss’s when he and his sister “would have fake microphones in the game room and perform the duet version. I remember the day she [his mom] heard us singing the song as said, ‘no, you’ve got to listen to the Keith Whitley version.’” He continued with praise, saying, “It is very rare that someone covers a song and it hits as hard as it does. That is a testament to the talent of that person.” There is something even more special when both versions mean something so important to you.

  1. Flies On The Butter, Wynonna Judd (With Naomi Judd) (2003)

It’s funny how when some songs come on, we can’t help but skip or change the station and others are always on replay. As a kid, McCollum remembers “crying in the car because my mom played that song so many times, to the point where I didn’t want to hear it anymore,” he laughed. “As I got older, I fell in love with the song. When I made this list, I started listening to that song again. I hadn’t listened to it in quite a while. I kind of forgot how good it is.” His mom couldn’t help playing a song that reminded her of her childhood, and now, it means just as much to him. “You get older and start to feel those same feelings about how much you miss being a kid.” He says it best in his own “Young Man’s Blues,” “growin’ up ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

  1. Carry On, Pat Green (2000)

It is safe to say that some of McCollum’s best memories involve his mother and car rides. “My mom used to take us to the river in Fredericksburg when we were kids in the hill country,” he said. Referencing this simple life again, he explained, “Back then, you would put all your songs on a CD and play them on a Walkman the whole way down, about six hours. That’s a lifetime of a drive for a kid — it feels like forever.” But this song isn’t only filled with memories of spending summer on the river, but instead a stage. “Pat was my introduction into this new Texas scene when I was ten. I was absolutely infatuated. I saw him sell out the Houston Rodeo,” McCollum smiled — the rodeo that he will be playing in just three weeks, just 40 miles south of his hometown of Conroe, Texas.

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