Austin-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Parker McCollum broke out in a big way in 2013 with his critically adored debut The Limestone Kid and now McCollum builds on that momentum with his latest, Probably Wrong. The 10-track LP was introduced in a three-part rollout beginning in July with Session One, followed by Session Two in September and finally adding two final songs to complete the project for its full release on November 10th. And while it was undoubtedly a unique way to release an album, the payoff is full of rewards.
Produced by Lloyd Maines, Probably Wrong finds the singer-songwriter further showcasing his striking ability to craft honest, accessible tunes that never sacrifice sharp storytelling and instantly memorable melodies for trends, and the result is an exceptional album that finds McCollum leading the class.
Throughout the project, McCollum concentrates (successfully) on writing about what he knows - love, relationships, and life on the road – and does so in a way that nods to tradition all while being contemporary, vivid, and unique. In addition to current single “I Can’t Breathe” (co-written with Micky Braun) Probably Wrong contains nine additional tracks, two outside cuts and seven co/written by McCollum including album opener “Memphis Rain,” which addresses adjustment and growth before flowing seamlessly into “South Of The City Lights” which, with its easy, understated guitar and keys, ponders life lessons. The breezy “Lonesome Ten Miles” and rollicking “The Truth” both have inescapable (and danceable) vibrant keys-driven melodies that juxtapose their themes of loneliness and heartbreak, “Been a long hard crawl to the bottom of the wall, but there’s no place I’d rather be,” while the steel work in “Misunderstood”, alongside McCollum’s sad yet resigned vocals, amplifies grappling with the strain of being away from someone you love, “But I’ll live out of a bag til the day I die.” Things turn from weary to slightly optimistic on the shuffler “Things Are Looking Up” which has a welcome three-minute instrumental that will keep your toes tapping long after McCollum stops singing before leaning on a bit of Bluegrass in “Blue Eyed Sally,” (written by Austen Biggers) a mandolin-led love letter to the woman he comes home to after a day in the coal mine. The album is rounded out with the delightfully old-timey “Learn To Fly” and closer, "Hell Of A Year," a sincere heartbreaker.
Probably Wrong does everything right; it’s one of those rare records that completes the triad of storytelling, melody, and delivery, securing McCollum’s spot as a distinctive voice in music who will not only forge his own path, but carry on the tradition of the respected songwriters before him.