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Brad Paisley Gives Track-by-Track Breakdown of ‘This Is Country Music’

Brad Paisley
Billboard

Country superstar Brad Paisley graces the cover of this week’s Billboard, offering the trade magazine a track-by-track breakdown of his brand-new album, ‘This is Country Music,’ which is due out on May 24.

In the interview, Paisley reveals how the single and title track actually set the tone for the entire album, artfully comparing it to the opening credits of a film and likening everything that follows on the album to a movie. He says, “The song itself is what inspired the album, which is the best way to have an album come about. ‘This Is Country Music’ is track one. It sets the tone. And from then on, all the songs on the album fill certain slots and paint the rest of the picture. It’s almost like that’s the opening credits, and then you have the rest of the movie to follow.”

Paisley also explains that he is more comfortable crafting Brad Paisley originals, as opposed to doing a covers album, simply out of respect to those who came before him. He is about trafficking in the now. “I’m not comfortable doing a covers album,” Paisley says. “Those songs have been done as well as they could’ve been done or they wouldn’t have been hits.”

In his track-by-track breakdown of the new record, Paisley says that the current single, ‘Old Alabama,’ is a paean to true country songs and that it’s “about a young girl who’s really into old Alabama songs, which are happening these days. If you go to one of the hip-hop clubs in Nashville, they’ll take a break and play ‘Mountain Music.’ The skating rink in West Virginia would play Madonna and Tears for Fears — but nothing would pack a floor like ‘Mountain Music.’”

The song ‘A Man Don’t Have to Die’ is based around “a person in church saying, ‘I don’t need to hear about the consequences of my life — I’m living those consequences. Tell me about the upside of me sitting in this pew.’ That’s as country as it gets,” Paisley says. ‘Working on a Tan’ nods to the past and “the way the ’60s treated summertime, and country has become the format of beaches and summertime. There’s not much of that on pop radio, like there is on country. It was fun to expand on what I would sound like with the Beach Boys behind me.”

Paisley traverses sensitive terrain with ‘One of Those Lives,’ saying, “We venture into some touchy territory for me, which is dealing with childhood illness. The song talks about one of my favorite places in the world — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — as well as Target House, which is the long-term stay facility that I’m actively involved in at St. Jude. Being able to say the words ‘Target House’ in a song is a victory because I’ve been there many times. It’s saints at work.”

Other songs on the record include some major collaborations, such as ‘Remind Me,’ featuring Carrie Underwood; ‘Don’t Drink the Water,’ featuring Blake Shelton; ‘Love Her Like She’s Leaving,’ featuring Don Henley; and ‘Life’s Railway to Heaven,’ which was the first song he ever sang at age 9. This version features Marty Stuart, Sheryl Crow and Carl Jackson.

The album also includes tracks titled ‘Toothbrush,’ ‘Be the Lake,’ ‘Eastwood’ (presumably the track that’s featuring Clint Eastwood on whistling), ‘New Favorite Memory,’ ‘I Do Now’ and ‘Camoflauge.’ These songs are country music!

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