Song of the Day #1,156: ‘Don’t Drink the Water’ – Brad Paisley (with Blake Shelton)

As I write this, I’m in the middle of a game of concert chicken with StubHub in the hopes of seeing Brad Paisley live today. Paisley is playing my city, with Blake Shelton opening, but he’s chosen a venue I hate and the prices are way too steep.

I’m not big on concerts. They’re expensive and uncomfortable and often less enjoyable than the same music heard on record. I don’t want to hear drawn-out jams, I don’t want to wait until 8:45 for a show that was supposed to start at 8. But at the same time, a good concert can be a transcendent communal experience if you’re willing to put up with all that other stuff.

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Song of the Day #1,150: ‘Camouflage’ – Brad Paisley

A couple of times in recent months I’ve made an analogy between country music and big-screen comedies. Both are under-appreciated due to a perceived lack of sophistication and desire to appeal to the common denominator.

What’s the last Oscar-winning movie about which you could say, “Well, I really had a great time watching that!”? I enjoyed The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker and Slumdog Millionaire as much as the next person but I’m not going to throw any of them into my DVD player when I want to lean back and laugh for two hours.

Brad Paisley writes crowd-pleasing music. His CDs should come with a bucket of popcorn. Sure, he’s recorded his share of tear-jerkers, in the traditional country fashion, but primarily he’s out to entertain.

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Song of the Day #1,149: ‘Remind Me’ – Brad Paisley (with Carrie Underwood)

It’s always interesting to see what an artist comes up with after you’ve discovered him. In each discography, I look at two touchstone albums — the one that marks my first exposure to the artist and the first one that I heard right along with everybody else.

American Saturday Night was my intro disc for Brad Paisley, and (as intro albums often do) it remains my favorite of his records. But once I’d spent the time and money to catch up on everything else he’d recorded, would his first new album live up to expectations?

I’ll admit, when I first heard the title of Paisley’s newest album, This is Country Music, and his intention to back off from the expansiveness of American Saturday Night, I was a bit worried. Would this album lean more toward the sort of country music I still find tiresome, rather than the clever, winning Brad Paisley music I love so much?

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Song of the Day #1,143: ‘Everybody’s Here’ – Brad Paisley

American Saturday Night is so chock full of good songs that I could dedicate the next four weekends to it and not hit all of the highlights.

I could pair up the jack-rabbit guitar workout of the hilarious ‘Catch All the Fish’ with the delicate ballad ‘Anything Like Me,’ in which Paisley imagines all the trouble his young son will get into over the years if he takes after his old man.

Certainly I should find room to highlight ‘The Pants,’ in which Paisley exposes macho chauvinists the world over as the helpless babies they really are. Or the title song, a celebration of our melting pot, with its wonderful audience shout-along moment (“Little Italy, Chinatown, sittin’ there side by side… live from New York, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!”) that makes you think every time you hear it how great Paisley must be in concert.

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Song of the Day #1,142: ‘She’s Her Own Woman’ – Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley followed his instrumental album, Play, with the finest release of his career (to date), 2009’s American Saturday Night. This is the album that originally brought Paisley to my attention.

After seeing both Time magazine and rank American Saturday Night as the best album of the year — of any genre — I figured I had to give it a try. I was hooked instantly.

As the theory goes, the album that introduces you to a favorite artist tends to be your favorite of his albums. That’s certainly the case here, and there is no better introduction to Brad Paisley than American Saturday Night.

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Song of the Day #1,136: ‘Start a Band’ – Brad Paisley (featuring Keith Urban)

Perhaps the most impressive fact about Brad Paisley’s instrumental album, Play, is that it didn’t break his streak of #1 records. Play didn’t wind up going Gold or Platinum like the rest of his albums but it did top the country charts.

Most likely that is due to the album’s handful of vocal tracks, including today’s SOTD, a duet with Keith Urban. ‘Start a Band’ became Paisley’s ninth consecutive #1 single and his 13th overall. In keeping with Play‘s focus on the guitar, the song paired Paisley up with Urban, another country star known for his axe skills.

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