Parker McCollum is officially a rising star in Nashville, having scored his first radio hit with “Pretty Heart” and dropped a EP named Hollywood Gold to go with it. But he’s looking forward to a happy reminder of where he came from this holiday season.
McCollum grew up in a little town north of Houston, raised by a family that spent most of its time ranching. His new EP is even named after his grandfather’s prized horse. But whatever they did, they did together, and that’s what he’s looking forward to as 2020 draws to a close.
“Both sides of my family are very big and very close,” he tells Sounds Like Nashville. “All my grandparents live in Conroe, Texas, my hometown, so I’ll go back there and split time between their houses. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be like that.”
In a normal year, McCollum would be excited to spend some time off the road — since for the last five years he’s been touring almost constantly. But the concert-industry shutdown caused by COVID-19 means he’s already been off the road for months now. Still, there’s something about this time of year that feels special.
“I like Christmas,” he explains. “I like the vibe and the place my mind goes when I’m laying in bed watching a Christmas movie in early December. The seasons and the holidays really take a hold over me, so I really kind of relish in it.”
It’s not just the comfort and relaxation that gets to him, though. McCollum is a deeply thoughtful songwriter — just check out “Pretty Heart” or his new single, “Young Man’s Blues,” for proof — and he understands what Christmas represents for families everywhere.
“I just turned 28 so I don’t have a ton of experience with it, but I just noticed in the last couple of years that I miss everything,” he says. “The little stuff, like Christmas Eve when everybody’s getting in the car to go here or there, you’re with your cousins or aunts and uncles, I really enjoy those times right now. Maybe because I’m gone so much of the year, but you understand the gravity – really what you understand is that a day will come when you don’t get to do that anymore. So I think for me, I actively try to enjoy them a little more when I’m there.”
In truth, Parker McCollum knows 2020 may be an unusual kind of holiday experience. But he’s betting the magic of the season will find a way to shine through all the same.
“I think this year will be no different, I’ll really enjoy being home,” he says.