When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Whiskey Baron Dance Hall & Saloon, 5781 N Academy Blvd.
Price: General admission is $18 in advance, $20 on the day of the show. VIP table costs $199.
We need to clear something up about Eric Paslay.
If you read anything about the country musician, you’ll likely be informed Paslay had four No. 1 hits for other artists — he wrote, for example, Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” — before he had his own chart-topping song. So, in most interviews, Paslay is asked something like, “So, you moved to Nashville to be a songwriter?”
Not the case.
From the moment the Texas native arrived in Nashville, as a 20-year-old, he wanted to hear his voice on the radio.
“The narrative hasn’t been told correctly,” Paslay said in a phone interview ahead of his show Friday at The Whiskey Baron.
He’s not particularly mad about it or anything. He just wants people to know the truth.
“I came to Nashville to be a singer and I figured all the singers wrote their own songs,” Paslay said. “So, I said, ‘We’ll just Willie Nelson it.’”
He wrote some songs. A lot of songs.
He eventually got a record deal. Three months later, Jake Owen released “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” which Paslay wrote. The song went No. 1. Three other No. 1 songs followed, including Love and Theft’s “Angel Eyes” and “Rewind” by Rascal Flatts.
Meanwhile, Paslay put out a self-titled album that included a song called “Friday Night,” which became his first No. 1 as a singer.
The order of these events sometimes paints the picture that Paslay was more comfortable with the songwriter title.
“Looking back, it would be nice to have my name on them as a singer,” Paslay said. “But my life is a lot richer for knowing those people. I think it was meant to be the way it happened.”
Paslay has proven he’s got the words and the voice. And that’s the way he always wanted it. He followed up “Friday Night” with hits “Song About A Girl” and the heartbreak ballad “She Don’t Love You.”
“To get a slow song on the radio is a big miracle,” he said of “She Don’t Love You.” “It’s a big song. People sing along as if it was a No. 1.”
That’s because, Paslay says, there aren’t many things more relatable than a story about a broken heart.
“I love story songs that make you lean forward a little more,” he said. “That’s why I love music. It makes people feel something. It does what nothing else can do.”
On the day of our interview, Paslay was home in Nashville and prepping for a “very chill” weekend with his wife and 11-month-old daughter, Piper.
“I have a weekend off for once,” he said. “It’s got me feeling like a normal person for once.”
Oh, and he was going to perform a Don Williams tribute with the Nashville Symphony.
Paslay has been working on a new album, which should be out early next year.
“I just listened to the masters this morning,” he said. “And you know what, I think we’re done. I think it’s done.”
Paslay describes the album as “the truest sound we’ve ever had.”
And it’s all about love.
“Sometimes that includes disappointments,” he said. “And sometimes you gotta write a song about your new little girl.”
Each song has a different sound or style, something Paslay thinks country music fans should be more welcoming of.
“People get on a high horse and say, ‘Well, that’s not country,’” Paslay said. “I tell people, ‘Hank Jr. wasn’t country, his daddy was. Music is always changing. If it isn’t changing, it’ll die.”
He describes country music this way: “An umbrella rainbow of so many different flavors, and colors.”
“That’s why I want my music to be eclectic,” he said.
But he likely won’t stray too far from his roots.
“Storytelling music with a melody... that’s what I love,” he said. “A great story is always nice to hear.”
The River Arkansas
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Lulu’s Downstairs, 107 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Price: $10, lulusdownstairs.com
The River Arkansas is led by Colorado native Mike Clark, who lives in Pueblo. After writing a collection of songs in 2014, Clark teamed up with bassist Macon Terry, formerly of the band Paper Bird, to record them. The band, which blends country, blues, folk and Americana sounds, has since put out two other albums, including the 2019 release, “Any Kind of Weather.”
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Sunshine Studios Live, 3970 Clear View Frontage Road
Price: $17-$77; sunshinestudioslive.com
The Canadian rapper Merkules has been lauded as a rising star in hip-hop. He has collaborated with Tech N9ne and recently made a remix of “Old Town Road” that has over 23 million views on YouTube. He has also shared remixes of songs such as “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “Him & I,” by Halsey. Merkules is on tour in support of his latest album, “Special Occasion,” which dropped on Nov. 1.
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs,
Price: $25, eventbrite.com
Following gigs in Fort Collins, Boulder and a sold-out show in Denver, the folk rock band Houndmouth will be in Manitou Springs this weekend with opener Kyle Emerson, a Denver-based musician. In 2015, the Indiana band released the dreamy song “Sedona,” which has been streamed more than 99 million times on Spotify. The group put out its latest album, “Golden Age,” last year.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver
Price: $113.50 and up; ticketmaster.com.
2019 has been quite the year for Post Malone. Last week marked his 11th consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100, which lists the top musical acts in the U.S. His album “Hollywood’s Bleeding” has steadily been No. 1 on the Billboard 200. And he’s poised to have a big night at the American Music Awards on Nov. 24. He has seven nominations, more than any other artist. Post Malone is known for blending pop, rock and rap styles in his explosive hits such as “Circles,” “Goodbyes,” “Better Now” and “Sunflower.” The concert also features Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh.
• Baltimore, Keito Sato, Keep Me Speech, Catch 86, 7 p.m. Friday, The Black Sheep, 2106 E Platte Ave., $10; blacksheeprocks.com
• The Barefoot Family Caravan, 8 p.m. Saturday, Lulu’s Downstairs, 107 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, $8; lulusdownstairs.com
• Julia Michaels, 7 p.m. Friday, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S Broadway, Englewood, $30; gothictheatre.com
• The Roots, 9 p.m. Friday, Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 N Clarkson St., Denver, $95-$637, fillmoreauditorium.org
• Ray LaMontagne with Kacy & Clayton, 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, Denver, Denver, $49.95-$125, paramountdenver.com.
• That 1 Guy, 7 p.m. Sunday, The Black Sheep, 2106 E Platte Ave., $15; blacksheeprocks.com.
• Big Freedia with Low Cut Connie, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S Broadway, Englewood, $30; gothictheatre.com
For a complete list of performances, go online to gazette.com/arts-entertainment
Amanda Hancock, The Gazette