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Brad Paisley turns up the fun on latest album



By CHRIS TALBOTT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Brad Paisley is taking control of the conversation about Brad Paisley with the release of his new album, "Moonshine in the Trunk."

The unexpected criticism he and rapper LL Cool J received over the song "Accidental Racist," which was leaked ahead of Paisley's 2013 album "Wheelhouse," still stings, and Paisley says he felt - and still feels - betrayed.

"I'm not going to take this anymore," Paisley said. "I'm not going to take it when they tell me, 'You shouldn't have done that.' I'm a musician. Don't tell me I shouldn't have done that. I am going to say what I want to say, and this album is what I want to say right now."

Paisley enlisted friends old and new - Ellen DeGeneres, NASCAR's Jeff Gordon and even a NASA astronaut - to help him leak every song on "Moonshine in the Trunk" before its Aug. 26 release, trading jabs with his record label boss along the way.

"Whatever critic wants to give it two stars, I don't care," Paisley said. "Because guess what? People know better, they've heard it. They've heard it, and I got the first presentation of it."

The title song is a metaphor for charging headlong into life as if you have some serious motivation, and the album follows that philosophy. It's mostly Paisley's super-charged take on modern honky-tonk, meant for good times.

This time, when Paisley does take on progressive ideas, he does so in a way designed not to offend in any way. He calls it "a sort of bright sides at all costs thing."

Chris DuBois, Paisley's close friend and business partner for two decades, said the sudden furor over "Accidental Racist" left its mark on Paisley. The song was meant to be an exploration of the state of race relations, with Paisley and LL Cool J offering different perspectives. Each managed to anger critics with lyrics that were dissected in the blogosphere.

"It was disappointing because of how badly the song was misinterpreted," DuBois said. "It came from a real honest place where he was wanting to address the reality of racial tension in America and especially in respect to the South. ... What we were not expecting is that the song would be misinterpreted and Brad would be cast as a racist in the blog world and the mainstream press."

Reaction to the song gut-punched the album upon release: Though "Wheelhouse" debuted at number one on Billboard's country chart, it sold just over 100,000 copies its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And the 41-year-old singer says he still felt some pushback as he rolled out "Moonshine," starting with lead single "River Bank." The song recently peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

"What I don't like is that I'm held to a way higher standard than other people," Paisley said. "It's not fair. It's not fair in this town. When I do 'River Bank' and they go, 'Well, what else you got,' because it doesn't mention cutoffs and it doesn't do the things that everybody is complaining about, you know what I'm saying? I do have a song called 'Shattered Glass' on here, and I do have a song called 'American Flag on the Moon,' but they are positive, and they aren't things that people are going to get mad at me for."

Paisley wrote those two songs alone, and each has its genesis in his personal life. He looks at how things have changed for women in "Shattered Glass," a song inspired by his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and her experiences with a career in entertainment. And he wrote "American Flag," a song about human potential, after his son looked at the moon and said he thought he could see the flag once planted there by astronauts. The chorus begins, "Tonight I dare you to dream, go on and believe in impossible things."

"I'm sure there are people who would criticize it for its naiveté," Paisley said. "But honestly I prefer to be naive if it means hopeful. The most naive of us might actually achieve something because they're too naive to know that that's not possible."

Join the discussion

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Kay August 29 2014 at 1:34 PM

Sad to say Brad, but no matter what you write and what you sing, someone, somewhere will find fault about it. So my advice to you is to keep doing what you have been doing with your head held high! I for one have always enjoyed your music and if people don't like that.....to bad!

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1 reply
davandsher Kay August 29 2014 at 7:03 PM

Amen Kay This " Political correctness " crap makes me sick

Flag Reply 0 rate up
uriahheep7275 August 29 2014 at 2:51 PM

This is what the PC crowd has devolved to. You have to be careful of "offending" people. Who cares?

Flag Reply +14 rate up
1 reply
jwemrw uriahheep7275 August 29 2014 at 9:54 PM

You care, or you would not be making a big noise that is all gut wind. And be damned careful what you "devolved to".

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debistar0410 August 29 2014 at 2:22 PM

I liked the song! It was reality. Something our society needs to look at! Not Hollywood Reality

Flag Reply +11 rate up
micknc2 August 29 2014 at 7:04 PM

It's the people who found fault and criticized "Accidental Racist" that are the problem in this country. I don't know how a song could more directly deliver a anti-racist message.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
STRAT August 29 2014 at 5:19 PM

Brad is one hell of a guitar player...who cares about that other crap....pick it brother...

Flag Reply +5 rate up
junelee0319 August 29 2014 at 3:05 PM

Give em hell Brad

Flag Reply +4 rate up
tommyrosemls August 29 2014 at 3:40 PM

While I have not heard the song in question, I would hazard a guess that since it was done along with a well known and respected rapper (who has been in both the music, and Hollywood spotlights many times over the years) he would not have agreed to do it. I have enjoyed your music for years and never found anything offensive about it. it is fun loving and often funny, but true.
Your fans know your music, and we (those of us who live in the real world, and are from the south) more often than not, have no use for the kind of people who want to get their five seconds of fame at another's expense. Your music is great. As a song craftsman, a musician, a role model (for your children and countless of others) and as a person in general; it is your duty to change the world. Articles that get written are often forgotten but songs that touch the soul live forever.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
lesturgill tommyrosemls August 29 2014 at 6:28 PM

Why don't you Google the song and listen to it before commenting on it? Are you related to Nancy Pelosi or something?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
kris52 tommyrosemls August 29 2014 at 11:39 PM

Thats because radio won't give it air time

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bdot157 August 29 2014 at 8:52 PM

Where were all you people/defenders when the Dixie Chicks were singing the truth about things happening in their/our lifetime ?

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1 reply
wwrangler818 bdot157 August 30 2014 at 7:01 AM

We were right here bashing the no talent hags!

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bonanza62 August 30 2014 at 12:34 AM

Brad P is a class act with real talent, soul, and heart. One of the best of the generation. I could go on and on but his music speaks for itself to anyone willing to give it a listen.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
slowinski5 August 30 2014 at 7:12 AM

PC rules in a nutshell, if your a white male, don't talk about any other race period. Don't talkabout your own race, unless it's in a negative way.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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