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Featured Album: Brad Paisley’s Moonshine in the Trunk

Brad Paisley Moonshine
Country superstar Brad Paisley just couldn’t help himself when it came to waiting for the Aug. 25 drop date for his 11th studio album, Moonshine in the Trunk.

The three-time Grammy winner decided to tweak the higher-ups at Sony Music Nashville by systematically leaking bits of the record through celebrity friends and their various social media channels over the past few weeks. After a few snippets of songs made their way to the Internet, label execs quickly worked to pull them down.

Not so fast, Paisley countered.

“Let me say: I love recording at Sony. I love my manager, my publicist, my agent,” Paisley tweeted July 30. “But yes, I’m doing this largely on my own.

PaisleyMoonshine“I want this record presented to you in the spirit it was made; smuggled in a car across a dry county. So…what to do what to do,” was his eventual follow-up tweet.

To their credit, the folks at Sony Nashville good-naturedly rode out the rebellious streak.

“Working with Brad is like riding a roller coaster: you know you’re going to scream, smile and have a wild ride … and it’s generally safe,” Gary Overton, Sony Music Nashville’s CEO, said in a release.

But Paisley’s guerrilla-style attack was genius, even if it was also mischievous. The buzz has been unbelievable for Moonshine in the Trunk, and rightfully so. All 14 tracks are classic Paisley, with smooth guitars, a touch of rock and roll and a full-on tongue-in-cheek countrified attitude.

Take “Crushin’ It,” a play on words that includes the literal interpretation of smashing a beer (or soda) can.  Starting with raw acoustic guitar, Paisley then rips in with stabs at his electric axe while noting that every week has a weekend. And to get fans to join in on the fun, Paisley asked people to send videos of themselves crushing cans, a movement that none other than Carrie Underwood helped spark with her own can-crushing clip.

Paisley keeps the party going with the track “River Bank.” To hang with Paisley, according to the album’s lead single, all one needs is a few cold ones, a few inner tubes and a few close friends. Similarly, the rambling saloon anthem “Limes” has a refrain that talks about making margaritas when life gives you limes.

It’s an optimistic vibe that runs throughout the entire record, one that encourages people to stand tall in the face of obstacles.

Take for example, “American Flag on the Moon.” The song begins with the faint plinking of a piano, but then eventually builds into a soaring anthem as a children’s chorus and a wailing slide guitar kick in. All the while, Paisley whimsically sings lyrics that encourage people to dream big, take chances and accomplish their goals. Oh, and Paisley took the title quite literally, leaking it from a launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Paisley also touches on environmental initiatives, with the mandolin-infused “Gone Green,” and matters of the heart in the ballad “Perfect Storm.”

For those who want to hear a good amount of Moonshine in the Trunk, a run down of Paisley’s Twitter feed yields a solid preview.  His #leakingmoonshine  co-conspirators included Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon, actor Olivia Munn, rapper Ludacris (who is a fellow mentor on the ABC’s Rising Star) and pop superstar Kesha. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy even supported the cause after a barrage of tweets from Paisley.

The Telecaster aficionado definitely has a lot to be excited about in Moonshine in the Trunk. It’s the perfect album to celebrate summer fun, which makes the late-August release apropos.

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