Brad Paisley - This Is Country Music
By: Matt Bjorke
When Brad Paisley started singing “This Is Country Music” on Early November’s 44th CMA Awards program, I thought for sure that he was going to be pouring on gas to stop the whole “I’m proud to be from the country” songs that are out there, however instead what was given to us was a song that literally has every theme used in modern country music with a dash of classic country themes thrown in for good measure.
It felt lazy, really lazy.
Then, today, I heard the completed studio version.
Sure, the song is still chock full of lazy lines ripped from other songs but the melody is gloriously traditionalist with fiddles and steel guitars serving as more than set pieces adding ‘country color’ to the song. There’s also a 30 second guitar solo in the middle of the song before Brad tugs at the heart strings a-la the Zac Brown Band with a verse about how country music proudly waves its flag in support of the troops.
The outro to the song takes famous song titles like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Hello Darlin,” “Ac Country By Can Survive,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “God Bless The USA,” “Amarillo By Morning” and “Stand By Your Man.” The odd thing is that each of these songs was written and recorded in the 1980s or before and much of what Brad Paisley sings about in “This Is Country Music” talks about modern country music, not the classic stuff.
The song sounds very good and the sentiment is something we can all agree with as country music fans. Country music does provide a home for songs about cancer, families, themes of farms, small town life, military heroes, and God. It’s just that it’s all presented a little haphazardly and the message will be lost on many.
I love country music but I can’t shake the feeling that this song is a watered-down thesis about what makes country music great. So while this is obviously Brad Paisley’s celebration of the kind of music he really loves, it does still feel a little like an ‘us vs. them’ kind of song.
“This Is Country Music” will undoubtedly be a hit. It sounds good and the great production from Frank Rogers is joined by one of Brad Paisley’s strongest vocal deliveries in years. Gone, though, is the feeling that Brad so expertly tapped into with “Welcome To The Future.” Brad Paisley can and does write much better songs and hopefully the upcoming 2011 album will be chock full ‘em.