Eric Paslay may have made his first visit to the UK for Country Music Week last year, but it definitely won’t be his last.
The Texas-born singer-songwriter won over plenty of new fans with his headline show at London’s Borderline and as part of the UK-wide CMA Songwriters Series tour. Now he’s heading back this summer to perform in Glasgow and Liverpool, as well as appearing at the British Summer Time Festival in London’s Hyde Park on the bill with Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.
I spoke to Eric recently about what fans coming to see him on his new tour can expect, his latest single Young Forever, recording at Abbey Road Studios and the songs he wishes he’d written.
Last time we spoke to you was just before Country Music Week – what have you been up to since then?
Playing a lot of music and dreaming about coming back to the UK. But yeah, I put out a new song, Young Forever, and we’ve been playing shows all the time. That run was awesome – the CMA Songwriters Series and Country Music Week. It was so much fun I thought we should bring the band next time, so we’re getting to do that in July. It’ll be a lot of fun.
What can people coming to see you this summer expect?
Louder music than last time, cause I’ll have a band [laughs]. But y’know, we’ll play some new songs and some songs I’ve written that have been hits for other people. But it’s always just a good time. High energy – there’s a few slow songs in there, but mostly it’s just high energy and a lot of fun.
I’ll be on acoustic guitar, I’ve got a great electric guitar player, Dane who’s from eastern Tennessee. He plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin. Josh is from north-east America and he’s just a great drummer – he’s lived down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama where a whole bunch of famous records were recorded from the Stones and all kinds of people. And then Chris Roach who’s actually a kid from Warrington, England – he’ll be on bass and banjo and all kinds of instruments. He’s just as talented as can be and we can’t wait to come and play there in the UK for y’all.
You’re playing British Summer Time Festival as part of this UK tour. What’s the main difference you’ve found between festival crowds and ‘normal’ shows?
Y’know, I love with clubs and smaller shows you get to see people right up close and it’s really intimate. You kind of feel like you’re in the backyard or you’re in the living room hanging out together. That’s always fun just to hang out like that, but it sure is fun to have a big party like in Hyde Park which I still can’t believe we’re getting to play. It’s amazing.
One of the first songs I ever learned to play was an Eric Clapton song so we’re looking forward to that, and my gosh I try to play lead guitar like Santana. I can’t ever quite do it [laughs]. But we’re just really, really looking forward to that tour and getting to hang out with all the fans. I think you can have fun anywhere, it’s just always a little bit different. The crowd might be bigger. The crowd’ll definitely be bigger at Hyde Park which is sold out, but it looks like the Glasgow show and the Liverpool show is getting pretty close to sold out too. So people who haven’t got their tickets yet, go get ‘em!
Can you tell us more about your new single Young Forever?
Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty much what it is, young forever. One of the main lines is ‘if I had one wish we’d be together, young forever’. I think this year I realised I don’t think anybody’s really old. Like if you get to be a hundred years old that really isn’t that long, and I meet a bunch of 20-year olds who are pretty young and jaded and they act like old grumpy men [laughs]. And I also meet 95- year olds who are super-fun to be around and they’re young and they tell stories about the past and they’re just a lot of fun to be around. I think that’s how you stay young forever – you just keep smiling and see things with the right eyes. And the song’s just about being young forever, recalling the good times and the first loves and the first times, and that feeling you have and trying to carry that with you through your whole life. It could be a love song but it’s also kind of an anthem for friends of yours.
The fun thing about the song is it’s the first song off this project, and I think it’s great because there’s five of us singing on it together at the same time from the very chorus out. I just wanna make sure the crowd and the fans feel like they’re one with us. The two guys I wrote the song with, a guy named Morgan Evans who’s a great singer and songwriter and Chris DeStefano who I’ve written another number one song with, and then Dane and Chris who are in my band are singing on it too. So we’re just having fun playing that song live and looking like a lot of people are really loving that song – it’s climbing up the charts here in the States and doing well.
When you were in the UK last year you mentioned you were writing at Abbey Road Studios – how was that?
It was awesome. Yeah, we got to write there at Abbey Road Studio. I remember they had the piano that the Beatles played on Lady Madonna. They have some old Norman mikes set up that we got to sing into. I knew that famous people had sang into them before but I was like, ‘I wonder who has sang into these mikes’. It was just awesome. And we wrote some great songs and maybe they’ll show up on one of these records one of these days. But it was a once in a lifetime experience. Maybe I’ll get to do that two or three times in my life, but it was really special. I’m glad we got to do it. And we got to slow a bunch of traffic down taking pictures on the crosswalk [laughs] like all the tourists do.
I saw the Instagram video of you and Randy Houser on that crossing…
Oh yeah! You know, I sent Randy that video of him and I awkwardly walking across the street together acting like we didn’t know each other, and he’s so good on Instagram that he posted it right before I did. So it worked out [laughs]. But his post was a lot more funnier than mine, so it was great.
You’ve mentioned you’re working on some songs for a new project – is that going to be an EP or possibly a new album?
Y’know, we’ve been working on it. I don’t know – it might come out. We haven’t completely discussed how it’s gonna come out but we’re definitely gonna get some music out there soon, whether it be a few songs here and there or a whole album. We’ll see how it wants to roll out. But yeah, everybody’s super-excited it, I’m excited about it. We’ve got quite a bit of it recorded – still writing a lot and if another song shows up that wants to kick off another great song we might just let it. But it’s no set date yet for when it’s coming out, but Young Forever’s kind of leading the way and getting the word out that a new project will be coming out soon.
What’s the one song you wish you’d written?
One song I wish I’d written… that’s so hard. It’s like, ‘what colour do you want to paint with?’ [laughs] A song recently that came out, just cause it’s a great song and I believe in what it says, Lori McKenna – great writer, she’s in Boston but she comes to Nashville quite a bit. She wrote a song called Humble And Kind that Tim McGraw recorded just last year. A beautiful song. My wife is a music publisher and she knows Lori and a bunch of those people, and she played it for me one morning. I was like, ‘man, I wish I was just a few years older, y’know? I wish we had kids just so I could sing that song’. But I’m really glad Tim McGraw recorded it and put it out and it did really well.
But songs like that, I think are just fabulous songs. I think Tears In Heaven is a beautiful song – I hope I never have to write that song because it’s a heartbreaking story, but just a beautiful song. There’s so many great songs in the world, y’know? It’s amazing. We’re spoiled these days getting so many choices to choose from. That’s a good question to ask any musician, we’ll probably just all sit there going ‘ummm…. I don’t know!’ I always say it’s asking Picasso to only paint with blue. It’s like ‘you want red, blue or green? Pick which one’ and I’m like, ‘but I like them all together!’ But I will say another song, Where The Streets Have No Name by U2.
If you had a bucket list for your music career, what would be on that?
Let’s just headline Hyde Park [laughs] – this’ll be years and years from now. Maybe Carnegie Hall, I don’t know. Somewhere with good vibes, an old theatre somewhere, and let’s invite U2. We’ll invite Coldplay. We’ll bring Tom Petty from the grave, he’ll come back to life and sing with us. Johnny Cash will be there. Dolly Parton, we’ll write a song with her that day. Springsteen might show up, and Willie Nelson will definitely be there spreading some good vibes and some fun air. I don’t know – maybe Mick Jagger’ll show up too. I’m not just sucking up to y’all because you’re in the UK but I love how UK musicians influence so many American musicians and so many American musicians influence the UK. It’s just amazing how we kind of feed each other back and forth and it really is special to get to come over and play with a bunch of other musicians from the UK. It’s just fun. I’m really excited to come over.
See Eric Paslay in the UK this summer at the following dates:
6th July – Broadcast, Glasgow
7th July – Arts Club, Liverpool
8th July – Hyde Park, London (as part of British Summer Time Festival)