I had the chance to meet Brad Paisley back in January on his H20: Frozen Over tour here in Canada. Always the gentleman, he tipped his hat to my mother when we entered the room. Brad has always been seen as a leader in country music, not only for his songwriting and his hits, but for his unbelievable guitar skills that stretches across all genres. You don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate the magic this man makes with a guitar.
His newest album, “This Is Country Music,” isn’t going to slow him down at all. The reigning Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year does just that with his latest effort; he entertains and ropes in the listener from start to finish. While This Is Country Music is still classic Brad Paisley, it still has enough to it to keep people listening all the way through to the end.
This Is Country Music, titled after the anthemic song he premiered at the Country Music Association Awards last November, proves that country music will cover any of the taboo topics no other genre will. From cancer, to Jesus, to singing about Mama, the title track pays tribute to the country music legends of old, and the music of today. While some find the track to be cheesy, I can’t help but to turn it up loud whenever it’s on the radio. Like the majority of songs on this album, this track is much better live and built for his shows as a chest-thumping, fist-pumping proud to be a country boy/girl scream along.
Paisley is good with his guitar. Not just good, but awe-inspiring good. He’s not one to shy away from his guitar solos, which you lose count of how many he sprinkles around on the 15 tracks, most of which he co-wrote. While there are the classic tongue-in-cheek Paisley comedy songs on the album, there are also tracks which are good recorded but will be amazing live in his shows this Summer and Fall. Stand-out track Don’t Drink The Water featuring country music’s hot mess, Blake Shelton, is a cute story about two men warning each other about the dangers of mixing Mexico and alcohol. Both Shelton and Paisley have hinted earlier in the year to expect this song live on H20 II: Wilder & Wetter tour on the dates Shelton opens on. I see this as a future single off of the album, with Paisley cashing in on country’s newest superstar.
Another single-worthy track is Remind Me, a duet with Paisley’s friend, and co-host, Carrie Underwood. Paisley had featured Carrie previously on Paisley’s 2007 Oh Love from his 5th Gear album. This is a daring move by Paisley since not too many artists can keep up with Underwood’s voice, however, their chemistry blends their voices together perfectly. The goosebumps start the second Underwood sings her first note in the song and continues all the way through. This is definite number one for the pairing if released. This is a track I can’t wait to see on the next country music award show, which I see as a guarantee. There was no one else that could elevate this song to this level besides Carrie and Brad.
The album’s special guests just keep coming. With tracks featuring Alabama, Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Carl Jackson, Marty Stuart, and a surprising appearance from Clint Eastwood on the appropriately titled “Eastwood,” Paisley showcases the multiple sides of country music. From gospel to southern rock, to the drinking songs, he covers all the bases. While this album is great to sing along to while driving around town, the tracks will shine live which is where Paisley excels. If you’ve never made it out to a Brad Paisley show you’re missing out.
Paisley knows what works. While Lady GaGa might be selling her album for .99 cents on Amazon, every penny is worth the price of this album. Especially with a full-length 15-track album during the 6-pack, 6-track era of country music.
Rating: 5 out of 5