Country Music has sometimes been described as three chords and the truth, but leave it to Brad Paisley to demonstrate just how much more expansive the genre can be on his new album, "This is Country Music." Produced by his longtime collaborator Frank Rogers, Paisley's ninth album pays tribute to the influences that have shaped the West Virginia native's hit-laden career, and some are refreshingly unexpected, including the homage to surf guitar legend Dick Dale, "Working on a Tan, " and the nod to Italian composer Ennio Morricone on the western instrumental "Eastwood."
Paisley wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 15 tracks, and though the album is musically diverse, lyrically the songs are anchored in the themes of love, loss, hope and heartache that have long defined the country format. The title tune kicks off the album, providing a blueprint for the songs that follow and some of the verses that he and co-writer Chris DuBois penned that didn't make it in the final version due to time constraints are used on the album as little interludes that intro other songs. It's all woven together to provide a thoughtful, creative look at the genre from the Country Music Association's reigning Entertainer of the Year.
Vocally, Paisley has never sounded better, and the ace guitar player struts his stuff throughout, skillfully complementing the mood and timbre of each tune. He enlists an interesting mix of special guests, including Don Henley, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, Alabama, Blake Shelton, Clint Eastwood and Marty Stuart. Country music's most talented young ambassador has delivered the ultimate love letter to his art form with "This is Country Music."
Which songs on "This is Country Music" can be added to Paisley's greatest hits? Here's our Twitter-length track-by-track review of each song.
You be the judge: What do you think of Brad Paisley's "This is Country Music" album? Tweet us your own review at @billboarddotcom (using hashtag #bbpaisley). The best tweets will be posted on Billboard.com in the coming days.
1. "This is Country Music" - From childhood cancer to patriotism to Jesus, there's no topic that country music won't tackle, and this song celebrates the genre's virtues while name-checking some of its icons.
2. "Old Alabama" - Paisley samples Alabama's "Mountain Music" and enlists the guys themselves . High-octane rural romp that blends country's past and present.
3. "A Man Don't Have to Die" - One of the few tracks not written by Paisley, it's a compelling examination of broken lives with hauntingly beautiful harmonies.
4. "Camouflage" - An upbeat tribute to the ultimate redneck fashion statement & fun tune sure to be a favorite live, especially among Mossy Oak fans.
5. "Remind Me" - A duet w/Carrie Underwood that is destined to be a major hit, this power ballad is all about a couple looking to recapture their magic.
6. "Working on a Tan" - Paisley's a guitar wizard on this number, and fans of surf guitar legend Dick Dale will appreciate the tribute. Perfect summer song!
Oooh! I love this question!
Books: More than one romance novel, more than one complete collection of any fantasy series, children's books with no children (the only exceptions to this are any Shel Silverstein and Dr Seuss. Harry Potter is okay, too), coffee table/picture books outnumber word-only books, nothing written in the last 5 years, not having enough books, anything written by Dan Brown, Bible prominently displayed
CDs: Any Celine Dion, more than 2 country music, more than 3 rap/hip hop, death metal or any of its variants, barking dogs/meowing cats Christmas album, Christian "rock"
Interior Design: Gilded anything (my personal mantra: Gold Is Old, Brass Is Ass), Barbie pink on anything not made by Mattel, Hummels, Snowbabies, and Lladro, country kitsch, giant wire spool used as table, milk crates as entertainment center, papasan chair, tourist collections (spoons, shot glasses, refrigerator magnets, etc