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Album Review: “Play” by Brad Paisley

November 4, 2008


5 Stars

After 5 albums, a Christmas album, several awards in different categories of every country award show there is (including male vocalist and album of the year), a string of 8 number one hits to this point that gives him the record for most consecutive #1 hits sense the 1990 inception of Nielson SoundScan, and a streak of 5 consecutive #1’s from a single album that ties with Rodney Crowell for the most in the genres history, Brad Paisley finally achieves what everyone has been waiting for, a guitar album. Play Teams Brad up with many of his heros as he explores one of the finest aspects of his talent, his guitar handling. Containing both instrumentals and vocal tracks, every song shows off a new aspect of Brad’s musical ability as a writer, singer and a guitarist that actually turns out to be one of the finer works of the past decade and of his career.

So what better way for Brad to advertise such a project then to join forces with modern country’s other guitar god Keith Urban for the first single. “Start A Band” offers listeners a small taste of the material this album has to offer. It features Brad’s signature entertainment quality and, as one would expect, a very attractive riff that makes you wonder what else he has to offer. This is not the only vocal track on the project. Although it is advertised as a “guitar album” it is never specified to be an instrumental project. Also included as vocal tracks are Brad’s duets with legends Buck Owens, Steve Wariner and B.B. King. Brad offers his take of Owens’ unrecorded song “Come On In” which features original demo recordings from Owens mixed with Brad’s original take for a realistic and lively duet. Brad joins Wariner on “More Than Just A Song”, an appropriate and powerful tribute to the two singer’s passed on mentors, Hank Goddard and Chet Atkins, respectively. Brad finally teams with master B.B. King for a fun tune called “Let The Good Times Roll” which shows off a lot of chemistry between the two artists and a lot of experience and fun from them as well.

Aside from these tracks the rest of the album is primarily instrumental taking inspiration from all aspects of Paisley’s life and career. The opening track, a fast paced Paisley-traditional number called “Huckleberry Jam”, is a catchy tribute to Paisley’s young little boy William Huckleberry Paisley. On the same note the slow and deeply moving “Kim” is a tribute to Paisley’s wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley. From a musical standpoint “Playing With Fire” and “Les Is More” bring Paisley back to his Jazz influences while “Kentucky Jelly”, featuring Snoop Dogg in its intro, has more of a bluegrass/traditional country taste too it for some spice. Brad even stated himself that there would be a “heavy metal type song” on the album. That song seems to be “Cliffs Of Rock City” which does in fact combine modern rock and contemporary country sounds for a nice blend as one of the more enjoyable tracks from the project

Of course it wouldn’t be a Brad Paisley album without a little humor in it as well. One particular track comes off as a country parody of beach music, “Turf’s Up”. The song takes aspects of surf songs, like “Wipeout”‘s famous e-string run down, and twists it to fit more of a country tone that actually comes off as both laughable (in a good way) and entertaining.

The biggest, and probably the most looked forward to track on this album is the all encompassing “Cluster Pluck”, a track that incorporates not only Brad’s guitar playing, but the picking styles of 7 other guitar masters from all over music as well. As introduced by Little Jimmy Dickens, these guitarists are James Burton, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, Albert Lee, John Jergunson, Brent Mason and Redd Volkaert. All together these guitarists create a huge guitar based pick-o-rama that showcases each and every one of their individual styles and shows, as Paisley himself states, “I don’t just rip them off in my solo in this song; I do it every time I play”.

As an added bonus, Brad adds two bonus tracks, his soft-core instrumental “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” as offered up in the soundtrack to Billy: The Early Years, and a special version of “Waitin’ On A Woman” featuring the vocal inclusions of Andy Griffith that was used for the song’s music video.

For the career that Brad has had, it’s about time this project saw the light of day. It’s easy to be sceptical of such an album for many reasons, but the boundaries that Brad is willing to cross and the people he worked with for this project only add to what is possibly his greatest work to date. That is not to bold to state in confidence because Brad truly does his best when he can work his voice, his writing and his all around talent around his guitar. This album offers everything that fans have enjoyed in the five albums Brad has and then some and continues a growing streak of career milestones for Paisley that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 1, 2013 12:48 pm

    What’s up, this weekend is nice in favor of me, as this occasion i am reading this impressive informative paragraph here at my home.

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