Texas-native Eric Paslay made his Opry debut on January 20, 2012. From the sly “If the Fish Don’t Bite” to the emotionally riveting “Deep As It Is Wide,” Paslay proves to be a compelling storyteller and versatile performer. It’s a gift he comes by honestly. “My granddad was a musician,” says Paslay, a native Texan, who was born in Abilene and raised in Temple. “Granddad and his brothers had a band and they played at dance halls." Paslay began playing guitar at 15, and his family supported him the entire way.
“I love melodies. My dad always had oldies on in his ’68 Mustang, and listening to that music growing up influenced me. There are so many cool melodies and it was great ear candy.”
By the time he began performing around Texas, Paslay had consumed himself with some of the great singer/songwriters and learned how to make a song memorable. “I was influenced by Rich Mullins,” Paslay says. “He was one of those guys I really listened to because he was real. He was a Christian artist, but it was cool to hear someone mix their beliefs with real life. He was honest. Then there was Rodney Crowell. I love Rodney Crowell. Johnny Cash has influenced me from his storytelling. He was such a cool storyteller and you really believed him.”
Though most aspiring artists playing clubs routinely perform cover tunes, Paslay almost always played his original songs and got enthusiastic response. Even though he was building a reputation for his live shows, like most artists, he briefly flirted with a more stable career and during high school, he planned on becoming a pediatric endocrinologist. “I have juvenile diabetes and I thought I could help kids with diabetes because I could relate to them,” he says.
However, music was too strong a passion to be ignored and following a friend’s advice, he moved to Nashville. He co-wrote the hit title track of Jake Owen’s new album “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” as well as the title track for Donny and Marie Osmond’s country set “The Good Life” and cuts “Friday Night” by Lady Antebellum and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” by the Eli Young Band.Though Paslay enjoys recording and has an affinity for the studio, his true love is the stage. “I turn it on when I get on stage. I love to entertain,” says Paslay, who has opened for Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Little Big Town, among others. “The songs on this record are the ones that really connect when I played them live. When I write, I like there to be a little bit of hope in every song, even in the sad songs. There’s still hope in there. With all the negativity everywhere these days, I’d like the positive to come out. A song can give you a little boost in confidence or make you love stronger and dream deeper.” Most of all, Eric Paslay loves forging that special connection with people that can only be made with a song. “I just love making music. I love how much you can say to someone in a song,” he says. “It's great having the opportunity to be a part of the soundtrack of people's lives.”