By Rebecca Belt
AS CMC Rocks Queensland fans roll into Willowbank and set up camp, Eric Paslay prepares to bring his brand of music to the masses.
By the time he takes to the stage, he will have already been in Australia for about 10 days, so he’s well and truly acclimatised and has enjoyed taking in the sights of Sydney and beyond.
“It’s my first trip to Australia,” he said. “My parents lived in Thailand for six years and I always wanted to come down, but never got there.”
Paslay said his Australian fiddle player, Luke Moller, had warned him about the wildlife including the kangaroos and the drop bears, but it hadn’t scared them off.
“Luke is the man and we love him to death and we’re so glad we’re getting to rock Australia,” he said.
Paslay said songwriting was a gift and co-writing worked in different ways.
“Sometimes you show up and have an idea which is always great, but sometimes you show up and see what falls out of the sky,” he said. “That’s how I know it is a gift to write songs like we do – to show up in a room and say we’re going to schedule writing a song together doesn’t really make sense, then you go write a three-minute movie and it’s a song that might become someone’s anthem for summer for the rest of their life.”
The artist said if it was the first time he’d written with someone, he tried to go into the session with an idea, but sometimes other ideas pushed their way forward, instead.
“It’s always an adventure,” he said. “That first title ultimately leads to a better one because there is a better one.”
Paslay said he didn’t have a favourite song he’d written with each on a gift and “hopefully you catch it right”.
“I’m just grateful I get to write songs and play them,” he said. “Heck, I’m coming to Australia and sing songs and hang out. Every song has a little bit of me in it and I’m just grateful God lets the songs come to me.”
He said he’d written a great song the morning he spoke with me.
Paslay is no stranger to country fans, having written massive hits including Barefoot Blue Jean Night for Jake Owen, Even If It Breaks Your Heart and Angel Eyes for Eli Young Band, Rewind for Rascal Flatts and Friday Night recordedby Lady Antebellum before Paslay himself released a version.
“Charles Kelley joked that it would be the fourth single from their album, but they didn’t release it and it was meant to be because I got to release it and it was a hit,” he said.
Paslay said he usually said yes if someone asked if they could record his songs.
“It’s not everyday people say they want to record your song, so I’m grateful I pretty much like everybody,” he said. “With me recording albums, I get to say I’m going to record that, now. The day we wrote Rewind, I wanted to record that, too, but I’m glad Rascal Flatts recorded it and made it a hit. If Rascal Flatts are reading, I’ve got more songs.”
The songwriter said he’d also love to have Keith Urban and Little Big Town record his songs.
“I’d also love U2 or Coldplay to record a song of mine,” he said.
As well as songwriting, the Nashville artist pays tribute to unsung heroes in towns and cities he visits and was on his way to play a hospice on the evening we spoke.
“I’m sure we will see angels in the places we visit in Australia and do good in Australia,” he said. “I love to meet great people and communities that do good. Aussies are full of such good vibes and help each other out and we are grateful we get to thank a lot of good people.”
The passionate US country artist plays CMC Rocks Queensland this weekend, Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26.