Parker McCollum is sticking with a theme that proves to be tried-and-tried for the Texas-born country artist. McCollum said: “I know I have written quite a few songs about heart break and drinking. So here’s another one.”
“Handle On You” released Friday (August 5), written by McCollum and Monty Criswell. The breakup anthem is described in a press release as a “woeful track about reeling from a doomed relationship captures the all-too relatable emotions of grappling with trying to let go of someone you loved.” Though McCollum has a knack for heartbreak songs, he doesn’t appear to be heartbroken in real life (at least, not anymore). The “To Be Loved By You” singer married Hallie Ray Light earlier this year in a stunning Texas venue. He shared a photo on Instagram: “Took me 3 years, but she is officially Hallie Ray Light McCollum!” The country singer-songwriter remembered a time that he and his now-wife parted ways, and it was during that time that he wrote many of his heartache anthems.
“‘Handle On You’ is a song I wrote with my buddy Monty Criswell before Hallie and I were back together, and I was really going through it and I was drinking quite a bit and staying up all night trying to write sad country songs,” McCollum recalled in a statement shared by his record label. “I wasn’t really writing anything at the time and woke up real late one day and Monty came over and he had this title called ‘Handle On You,’ and I said, ‘Man, I’ve kind of been trying to get a handle on her,’ and I was really kind of living that at the time. It’s a super honest song, and it really means a lot to me when I listen to it and think back on that time on what I was going through. You know, I was drinking to try to get out of a bad spot which is never gonna work, but I don’t regret it at all because we wrote ‘Handle On You’ from literally living exactly what that song’s about.”
“Tennessee and Kentucky 'cause you ain't here to love me/ I drink now that there's nothing to lose/ I’ve been fightin' with your memory, I hate the way it hits me/ I wake up every day, black and blue/ After all this back and forth, a fifth won't do/ Yeah, I finally got a handle, finally got a handle on you”
McCollum recently had a lifelong dream come true when he opened for country music legend — and fellow Texan — George Strait during a show at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town also took the stage that day. McCollum, who has been inspired by Strait since his childhood, said in a statement that he often hopes “The King” approves of his music: “Regardless of what anyone thinks of me or my music, I strive to do my absolute best on my terms – but honestly, I’ve always had this secret hope that ‘The King’ approves of what I’m doing. He is the standard and it’s an honor to share the stage with him.”
Listen to McCollum’s new song “about heart break and drinking” here: