Brad Paisley is a walking testament to modern-day countrys possibilities. His albums are cornucopias of words and music that provide alternately poignant and hilarious journeys across the human landscape. A triple threat recognized as one of the finest singers, songwriters, and guitar slingers of his generation, he brings a wide spectrum of subjects and styles to records as diverse and accomplished as anything being done today, and he manages it all with true wit and distinctive style.
Now, with the release of his eighth album, American Saturday Night, Brad proves once again that he remains a master of his craft or, more accurately, his crafts. The albums first single, "Then," became the 14th No. 1 of his career and his 10th consecutive chart-topper extending a streak unmatched by any other country artist in nearly 20 years. The fastest rising single of his career, the song spent three weeks at No. 1 and has become a couples favorite, with fans adopting the ballad of love growing better over time as an "our song" unlike anything Brad has ever recorded. Indeed, his singing has never been more nuanced than in "Then," or in "No," an observation of life and prayer penned with "Whiskey Lullaby" writers Jon Randall and Country Music Hall-of-Famer Bill Anderson.
Instrumentally, Brad again displays the skills that made his celebration of the guitar on his last album, Play, such a welcome part of the Paisley canon, on songs like "Catch All the Fish," a flat-out picking extravaganza that Brad says lyrically bookends his girlfriend-versus-fish favorite, "Im Gonna Miss Her." Other guitar highlights include such tracks as "Oh Yeah, Youre Gone," a songwriting and guitar-playing partnership with blues great Robben Ford, and "Shes Her Own Woman," a bluesy celebration of a strong partner.
As for his songwriting, Brad co-wrote everything on the album and admits hes never drawn more deeply on his own life than he has in songs like "I Hope Thats Me" ("This song is me," he says) and "Anything Like Me," a sweet, toe-tapping musing on fatherhood that features a vocal cameo from two-year-old William Huckleberry Paisley. Huck, incidentally, is the elder of two boys and big brother to Jasper Warren, who was born in early 2009 to proud papa Brad and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley. While fatherhood has certainly informed his enduring gift for blending heart and humor in his music, Brads way with a catchy melody and lyrics that are clever yet profound are also evident in tracks like "American Saturday Night" and "Water."
If there is a song of which he is particularly proud, though, it is "Welcome to the Future," which is as deep as it is wide in scope.