When Eric Paslay’s EP ‘Heartbeat Higher’ was released in July, the taster of what was to come made us hungry for more. The wait is over, and on the 14th August Paslay’s second full-length album, ‘Nice Guy’, will land.
The EP teased the themes on this album. If ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’ kicked off the summer vacation, then ‘Off The Edge of Summer’ makes the sun shine in this bittersweet track about the memory of an old summer love. Further down the track list, ‘Endless Summer Dream’ is about a youthful love that lives on. Eric clearly is in the mood for a vacation and this is a neat trio of songs.
There’s humour too, and one of the strongest songs on the album is the title track. We know that Eric is a country music ‘Nice Guy’, but clearly it isn’t working for him these days: “What can I say, it just don’t pay to be a nice guy anymore”. He sings about all the ways he’s going to rebel against being too nice, from getting arrested to doing something obscene on YouTube. We don’t buy it Eric, your’re just too, well… nice.
It’s personal as well, with sentimental songs dedicated to the individuals in his life. Being a father has influenced ‘Fingertips’; a beautiful message to his daughter to never be afraid of chasing her dreams. The child theme continues on ‘Wild and Young’, reflecting on the capacity of someone to hold onto the spirit of childhood. If ‘Fingertips’ is a wish for a child in the future, then ‘Wild and Young’ puts us in the future with a wish to hold on to the past. The whole album is a clever and thoughtful collection of outstanding songs.
As you would expect from a Paslay album, the song writing doesn’t miss a beat. He’s joined by some big hitters on the writing roll-call, including Gordie Sampson, Craig Wiseman, Kristian Bush, and Lady A’s Charles Kelley, who he was of course nominated for a Grammy with (alongside Dierks Bentley) back in 2015 for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for ‘The Driver’.
You can’t fail to miss some stunning female vocalists alongside Paslay on this album too. From Sarah Buxton in ‘Heartbeat Higher’ to Lucy Silvas in ‘Off The Edge of Summer’, the women shine through. Paslay isn’t afraid to show off the artists around him, showing a real confidence in himself.
But the number one woman in his life is clearly his wife. She gets the final, most beautiful of the all the songs on this album. ‘Woman Like Her’ is a tear-inducing, honest ode. He reflects, “I know that I need her more than she needs me”. Maybe so, but I suspect she’s pretty proud of this nice guy too.
1. Heartbeat Higher (feat. Sarah Buxton) (Eric Paslay, Sarah Buxton, Zach Crowell)
2. Boat In A Bottle (Eric Paslay, Sarah Buxton, Tofer Brown)
3. I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Mike Posner)
4. Off The Edge Of The Summer (feat. Lucie Silvas) (Eric Paslay, Emily Shackleton, Emily Landis, Mark Trussell)
5. Just Once (Eric Paslay, Kristian Bush, Andrew DeRoberts)
6. Nice Guy (Eric Paslay, Craig Wiseman)
7. Under Your Spell (Eric Paslay, Caitlyn Smith, Gordie Sampson)
8. Fingertips (Eric Paslay, Rodney Clawson, Mark Holman)
9. Wild And Young (Eric Paslay, Chris Wallin)
10. Endless Summer Dream (Eric Paslay, Blair Daily, Sam Ellis)
11. On This Side Of Heaven (Eric Paslay, Jordan Reynolds, Jordan Minton)
12. Woman Like Her (Eric Paslay, Laura Veltz, Charles Kelley)
Think Country recently caught up with Eric Paslay. Read our interview