While there were rumblings that McCollum signing with MCA Nashville would change the trajectory of his career into the watered down world of Nashville’s country-pop scene, McCollum squashed all doubts with his first major label EP, Hollywood Gold.
Released in mid-October, Hollywood Gold doubles down on everything listeners have come to love about McCollum’s music after two successful independent albums; honesty, solid vocals and a sound uniquely his own, all of which McCollum says was not only a goal as Hollywood Gold was coming together, but something he hopes listeners can feel when listening to the EP.
“I’m not going to write a song that doesn’t feel real or honest. I want people to believe it,” McCollum said in a press conference. “Whether they like it or not, I don’t want it to sound fabricated. If they could take away any sense of any of that, I think that’s a success.”
While recording Hollywood Gold, McCollum had to capture those feelings again, all the while, adjusting to a new recording process.
“It was a crazy process. On my last two records, I wrote those over the course of a couple weeks, and then we cut them in a couple days and it was done. With Hollywood Gold, I’ve been writing and recording for about a year-and-a-half. We recorded four songs at a time several months apart, and it’s been a super different process,” says McCollum. “We went in in July and recorded a little bit, and everyone had to wear masks the whole time we were in there, which was sometimes eleven hours in a day.”
Through the course of Hollywood Gold, McCollum proves he was undeterred by the change-up. In fact, he excelled; taking a song he didn’t pen, “Like a Cowboy,” written by Chris Stapleton and Al Anderson, and made it his own.
“I was driving one day, and the label sent me that song,” says McCollum. “I fell in love with it. It reminded me a lot of my Grandad and how I grew up. I really enjoyed singing it. I had never cut a song on Universal that I didn’t write. It was a fun process of finding that song within myself and getting to cut it.”
The song, undoubtedly the most “traditional” on the EP, puts McCollum’s sonic versatility on full display. And while much has been made about blending his Texas roots with Nashville’s mainstream, McCollum says he doesn’t focus on things like that, instead, focusing on the songs themselves.
“I don’t think about that whatsoever. I get that question a lot, and it’s interesting to me that people are aware of it,” says McCollum. “For me, I’m not trying to sound any kind of way. I think the best songs win, and I think honest songwriting lives for a long time. Something real, something you can hold on to lasts the longest.”
One of those long-lasting songs for McCollum is track one, “Young Man’s Blues.” Though McCollum says the song was relevant when he wrote it, for better or for worse, it is even more relevant today, and is the song he lists as his favorite on Hollywood Gold.
“I don’t think it’s the best song I’ve ever written, but what I was trying to say at the time, I feel like a really hit the nail on the head for myself personally,” says McCollum. “Every record I’ve written, especially this one, it seems as though I’ll write them about what I’ve already gone through or what I’m going through at the time, but it always turns out that all the songs are even more relevant months later. The meaning of ‘Young Man’s Blues’ was hard to admit. it was relevant at the time, and it’s even harder now to admit that I’m still feeling what I felt when I wrote that song. It holds a lot of weight with me. It was the most honest I was on the record.”
In all, that honesty is crystal clear, and we can honestly say that we think both Hollywood Gold and Parker McCollum offering his truths will be around for a long time to come.
**Find Parker’s music featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**