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Country Newcomer Aaron Parker Takes Old-School Approach to EP Launch

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/10/2015 Brittany Hodak

2015-10-01-1443716633-1482862-AaronParker0085.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-01-1443716633-1482862-AaronParker0085.jpg Aaron Parker is an unabashed '90s country music superfan. "I cut my teeth on Kenny, Garth, and Tim," the Daphne, Alabama, native says. "There's something about that era of country music that still hits me." It's no surprise, then, that Parker's sound is reminiscent of the era, simultaneously evoking a classic sound while impressive production makes his debut EP simultaneously current.
The five-song EP name-checks Parker's favorite era again and again. "Country Songs and You" sounds like classic, young Tim McGraw, with scaling guitars and strong vocals, telling of a "tape deck turned way up loud, from Doug Stone to 'Thunder Rolls.'" The acoustic ballad "Homesick" finds Parker reminiscing about days when "my whole world was a cornfield with new rows."
"I'd Go Right Now," premiering exclusively in this post, is another look back at Parker's Alabama upbringing, where he twangs to an old love about football games and a "sophomore summer at your family's lake house."

Because the '90s played such an important role in the writing of this EP, Parker wanted to pay homage to that era with a fun release strategy. The only way to get Parker's EP is by joining his fan club -- a back-in-the-day staple of country fandom. Fans receive the EP, along with an exclusive rookie T-shirt and magnet. Most interesting, though, fans also receive a postcard to return that allows them to send another copy of the EP to any one of their friends for free. Each subsequent EP sent (for free) will also include a postcard, keeping the release going in an almost chainmail fashion.
"When I was growing up, the only way to discover new music was on the radio or from a friend," Parker says. "I wanted to release my EP this way to bring back that element of discovery, that element of sharing new music with your friends."
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Fans can also hear Parker perform the new songs live on the road. He's in the middle of a 13-city tour that has him hitting New York City, Chicago, Columbia, SC, and a hometown crowd in Mobile, AL. I talked to Parker about his new EP, tour, and the era that inspired him most.
Can you give fans a little background on "I'd Go Right Now?"
Sure. It's an introspective story of longing, something I think that we all do to a certain extent. There are spots in my hometown when I go back there that cue a certain memory immediately. It's so vivid it's like a video in front of my windshield. It's not really a complicated song, it's just a memory that you can't control. It's not the thought that you would change something about where you are now, but you do say, "Damn that was fun. That was living."
You wrote or co-wrote the five songs on your EP. How have your favorite '90s artists helped inspire your sound?
They've definitely held me to a certain bar, at least with songs, and performance. I love that music, but it is 2015 and genres are getting blurry so I'm not afraid to mix it up with what is now. You'll be seeing more of that coming soon. The same high bar will be there on the songs, though.
What are you most looking forward to for your tour?
I just love being on the road: the camaraderie with the band, seeing all of the fans at every show, literally every part of the process. I love it. The road is my happy place.
2015-10-01-1443715455-8929421-M8eiQow.jpeg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-01-1443715455-8929421-M8eiQow.jpeg You've already toured with some of your heroes, including Travis Tritt and Alabama. What other stars would you most love to join on the road?
There are many that I'd like to tour with within the genre, and I'd jump at the chance to do so. FGL, Kenny [Chesney], Tim [McGraw], Luke [Bryan]. But I really like the exterior of the genre, too. I like being uncomfortable and maybe playing for a pop-loving crowd or a folk-loving crowd. I have so many pop-music fans that come up to me and say they love the EP or they really enjoyed the show, when normally they don't listen to country music. As you can tell I wear a [cowboy] hat, so there's no question about what I am. But I'd like to sing with Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Adele, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. I think Katy needs a little cowboy in her lollipop show!
Where did the idea to release your EP in this fashion come from?
It was something I had thought about for a while. Everything I do as far as my fans go has an old-school progressive twist to it. I feel that personal contact and engagement is crucial and honestly it's my favorite thing about doing this.
Are you planning a digital or physical retail release of the EP at some point?
Both, depending on timing and how we feel it's best to do it at that moment and the timeline to release it. I love technology, I follow most of the new user tech blogs, but I also love and know the value of pen and paper. I try to use the best of both worlds to connect with the fans: High Tech and High Touch.
Anything else you'd like to say to your fans?
Yes, thank you. You're the best and my favorite part of it all.
To hear more music from Parker, join his fan club or stream from his SoundCloud account below.
Images and audio courtesy of Aaron Parker.

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