Paisley Pays Homage to his Influences on New Album
By Pauline France
Country superstar Brad Paisley is once again ruling the country charts; this time with ninth studio album This Is Country Music. The album debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart and number one on Billboard’s Country Albums chart on its May 2011 release, marking Paisley’s sixth consecutive album to top the list. Five weeks in, the album is still going strong on the country chart at number three.
The three-time Grammy winner started the project with the title track, which he believes set the mood for the rest of the album.
“The song itself is what inspired the album, which is the best way to have an album come about,” said Paisley in a Voice of America interview. “From then on, all the songs on the album fill certain slots and paint the rest of the picture.”
Chris DuBois co-wrote the title track; he and Paisley penned more verses than would fit into a radio single, so Paisley used some of the extra lyrics as intros for other songs on the album. The result is a wonderful story-like thread that gives the album an even more cohesive feel.
The album’s lyrics cross all boundaries — from love to toothbrushes to cancer.
“I just realized there’s nothing off-limits as far as topics go in country music,” Paisley explained to cable network Great American Country. “Nothing’s too small in your life to write about. From a toothbrush to spiritual questions to difficulty; drinking; cheating — those are bigger things — sunbathing; you know what I mean? Nothing’s off-limits. We say that very clearly in our music.”
Paisley’s primary goal was to create a body of work that people can relate to.
“There are stories and observations in songs like ‘A Man Don’t Have to Die,’” he explains. “I didn’t write that song, but I heard it and instantly said, ‘This is exactly where I want to go with this album,’ because it is absolute reality for some people.”
Produced by longtime collaborator Frank Rogers, This Is Country Music embodies all things country and pays tribute to the influences that have shaped the West Virginia native’s hit-laden career.
Take “Old Alabama,” which shot to the top of Billboard’s Country Song chart — Paisley’s 19th number-one hit. Paisley turned directly to the members of Alabama — Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry — to create the hit track.
“It’s really a combination of what they do and what I do, which is not hard because I’ve ripped them off so many times over the years,” said Paisley. “They’ve been a major inspiration to me. I saw them play live many, many times. I remember going to the Civic Arena in Wheeling when they played and their opening acts were Clint Black and Lorrie Morgan. They were one of the first arena acts in country music. They were the first to really bring semi-tractor trailers down the road and have a big production.”
The album also includes duets with two of Paisley’s fellow country hitmakers — Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton—making it an explosive, star-studded record.
Of his duet with Shelton, “Don’t Drink the Water,” Paisley said, “It’s a fun song about getting somebody off your mind.”
He and Underwood are heard together on “Remind Me,” a ballad about a couple looking to rekindle the spark in their relationship.
“It’s a song about the conversation a couple would have,” said Paisley. “It could be seven months into the relationship or it could be seven years, but everybody’s been there.”
Despite the album title, Paisley also shows the amazing versatility of his guitar chops and influences well beyond country. “Working on a Tan” may scream country, but Paisley is actually paying homage to surf guitar legend Dick Dale. On Spaghetti Western-themed instrumental track “Eastwood,” Paisley tips his hat to Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
To experience This Is Country Music, order your copy here.