Time to celebrate, Brad Paisley is back in the studio
Brad Paisley is back in the studio, which is great news if you’re a country music fan. Time and time again Brad has gone into the studio and come out with some good, some great, and some classic country music. Paisley joked to USA Today, “I’ve got some strong possibilities for stuff that could be cool. If a few of them materialize, then I think 2012 is going to be not only the end of the world but a really creative Armageddon.”
Yes, it’s time for Mr. Paisley to come up with another album of original songs that satisfy all kinds of country music lovers; from hard-core traditionalists, to those who prefer pop in their country, to those who love humour in their music. Since he released his debut album, Who Needs Pictures, in 1999, the West Virginia native has headed into the studio seven times, so this trip into the studio to start a new record is his eighth. From those seven records he has earned 17 #1 hits. That’s a lot of chart-topping hits.
But this is not just a guy with a hat on his head singing songs others have written. No, Paisley is a songwriter. If you really think about it, when it comes to the current crop of mainstream, hit-making country artists which ones really measure up to Brad Paisley. What other stars have as much talent as Paisley? Let’s see…
He’s a killer songwriter who can write slow meaningful ballads (‘We Danced,’ ‘She’s Everything’), touching, relatable love songs (‘Little Moments’), hilarious songs that poke fun of pop culture (‘Celebrity,’), social media (‘Online’), and drinking (‘Alcohol’), and of course, the man wrote a song about the music genre of which he is a member, country music (‘This Is Country Music‘). Hey, country music’s been around awhile now, lots and lots of country music songwriters, why’d nobody else write a definitive song about it?
He’s a monster guitar player. Just listen to his records, not just his hits. Amazing guitar work. Sure, he’s fast, but he often demonstrates restraint and subtleties that only the greats ever achieve. At a time when a lot of guys have a guitar slung around their neck just as a cool looking prop, Paisley swaps leads with anyone who cares to blaze away with him, like in these live moments captured on video; with guitar great Vince Gill at the Kennedy Center honoring Merle Haggard, or acoustically with John Mayer, or in London at the O2 Arena with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones.
He’s a great live performer. Hands down, better than most because of his proficiency on his instrument. Not to mention the strength of his catalogue, the wide variety of subject matter (water, mud, fishin’, whiskey, women, friends, love, the future, the past, the global village), his use of southern, western, and traditional country styles, his natural humour, and his integrity.
His singing voice. Technically the weakest part of his musical make up. But he sings so passionately, and with such conviction, that he often turns this into a strength. Plus, added bonus, he has great taste in duet partners (Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Tony Bennett).
He’s good looking with or without the hat. Hey, it doesn’t hurt, right?
Basically, talents like Brad Paisley don’t come along very often. Vince Gill comes to mind, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson. Country music artists who do it all. Write, play, sing, and also chalk up hits on the radio. Keith Urban is another, although I’m not sure Keith’s songwriting chops measure up to Paisley’s. What do you think? Paisley or Urban?