There is no stopping the rise of Parker McCollum. For many Texans and people who love the art coming out of Texas, the Gold Chain Cowboy represents more than a new generation of country artists. For them, McCollum is leading a cultural evolution committed to finding a balance between modern country and traditional genre aesthetics.
In other words, he’s the new king of country music.
Kicking off a year that finds him headlining multiple major festivals, McCollum launched into 2023 with a string of sold-out midwest performances during the first weekend of February. The crowd was as diverse as any you’re likely to find at Detroit’s iconic Fillmore Theater on February 3. The packed house featured veterans and military supporters in their best flag-branded clothing, college co-eds with surprisingly deep knowledge of 90s country, genre diehards who navigated the sub-freezing temperatures in cowboy boots and hats, and, of course, a mixed bag of couples experiencing their first good night out of the still-young new year.
Recent UMG signee Catie Offerman opened the evening with an acoustic set that showcased her impressive songwriting chops. The viral hit “Get A Dog” worked even better in a live setting, with a good portion of the room joining in for the first (of many) sing-a-longs that night.
Next up, “Wild As Her” songwriter and red dirt troubadour Corey Kent sought to prove his blend of rock and country could stick to your bones. His band was red hot, proving that countless nights spent tumbling in and out of any room that’ll have you may be worth its cost. They made the massive Fillmore room feel more like a sweaty rock club, and the packed house helped keep the temperature steadily rising to match that sensation.
Emerging from behind one of his mega-sized video screens, the Texas native launched into a career-spanning setlist heavy on fan favorites. “To Be Loved By You” kicked off the night with a performance that had the crowd returning every bit of energy the band could convey. “Wait Outside” and “Meet You In The Middle” caused the chorus of excited fans to grow louder still, making it so that “Drinkin’” more or less turned the room into a Southern saloon.
As the night progressed, McCollum did not have to argue for his position among the top names in the country music game today. His show focused on the power of songs over spectacle, replacing the pyro and air canons that have become commonplace in many performances with lyrical wordplay capable of moving people to tears. The crowd didn’t notice the change, or if they did, nobody cared. They were there to feel something, and McCollum was happy to deliver.