At 22 years old, Parker McCollum is aiming high with The Limestone Kid, out Feb. 24.
His debut album’s title is also his nickname, earned by working summers on a ranch in Limestone County, Texas, and he tells CMT Edge he definitely likes the toughness it implies. But as a thoughtful young guy writing in the middle of a selfie revolution, his first full-length collection is more interesting than a bunch of stories about tough Texans.
McCollum grew up in Conroe, Texas, about an hour outside of Houston. After falling in love with classic country through artists like Willie Nelson, Buck Owens and Porter Wagoner, he learned guitar and harmonica and first took the stage at age 16. He’s now based out of Austin, and using those influences to write his own unique country songs.
On “High Above the Water,” McCollum looks to the future, capturing the side-by-side confidence and underlying dread that’s so common in his millennial-generation peers. His vocals push relentlessly onward, and he promises he’d rather “go out in style, go out on fire,” than settle for a life with less purpose. But there’s a sense of doubt, too.
“I wrote this song rather quickly and ended up refusing to record it until I was talked into doing so by (producer) Corby Schaub,” he says. “It’s really just a steady reminder to always stick to your guns and believe in yourself, so that when you succeed in life, you can say you did it your way.”
A worthy goal for sure, but we all know some people will fail. This song knows that, too, just not how to avoid it. To me, there may be more nuance in his writing than he seems willing to admit.
Placing a tasteful Texas Americana sound at his back, McCollum will keep spreading his insightful tunes all across the Lone Star state with dates scheduled through April.
Meanwhile, he’s offered the premiere of “High Above the Water” to CMT Edge.