Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Eric Paslay has proven in the last decade that he is a true juggernaut in the world of country writing, with songs like ‘She Don’t Love You’ and ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ in his catalogue. As an artist in his own right, his lyrical cleverness and infectious singalongs have struck a chord with fans, particularly here in the UK.
Paslay has never quite grasped the radio success that he perhaps deserves, with ‘Friday Night’ being his highest charting single at #2. However, the quality of his material has never waned, and this ‘Heartbeat Higher’ EP is another solid release from the Texas native.
The single from this EP is the title track, ‘Heartbeat Higher’, a duet with Sarah Buxton. This track is a grower. On first listen, the single didn’t hook me, however after multiple listens I found myself subconsciously singing along. Starting slowly and softly, the song builds to create a very rich sounding love anthem, that wouldn’t feel out of place on country radio. The harmonies here are a highlight, with both voices blending beautifully.
These harmonies are also further emphasised by the great production on the EP, by Reid Shippen. This trait continues throughout the EP and it’s wonderful to hear such rich instrumentation on each song.
The quality of the production and arrangements are also highlighted on the EP’s cover, ‘I Took A Pill in Ibiza’. This song is simply unrecognisable against the original electronic version by Mike Posner, as Paslay emphasises the lyrics over instruments. Make no mistake that this song is lyrically strong, despite it being taken from the electronic genre, as it follows an individual struggling with fame, success and sobriety. These themes are common in country music, and Paslay’s version is a real delight.
“The outpouring of love, support and excitement with ‘Heartbeat Higher’ was so amazing that I’m super pumped to drop the EP!” said Eric. “I think I’ve got the fans covered with four songs in every direction. I’ve got one for my ‘Barefoot’ crew, my ‘She Don’t Love You’ fans and something new for me… a cover!”
Track 2, ‘On This Side of Heaven’, features very soft yet strong vocals from Paslay that further highlight his amazing voice. Much like ‘Heartbeat Higher’, this track builds, which further adds to its hopeful feel. At times like these, it’s enjoyable to hear songs that highlight longing and hope. Such a worthwhile listen.
However, fans of Paslay’s more ‘fun stuff’ should not fear, as the final track ‘Boat in The Bottle’ certainly fits this description. In this track, we hear Paslay’s more joyful and playful side, completing a well-rounded EP. The song has a beachy feel and urges us to enjoy our lives and to look on the positive side of things. These vibes certainly make a great end to the EP and leave us wanting more.
Overall, this is another quality release from Eric Paslay, encapsulating all aspects of his ‘sound’. A massive highlight for me is the cover of ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’, which I implore people to listen to. Hopefully this EP is a success for the now-independent Paslay, which it deserves to be.