"Let's say I got bucked off a bull and hit my head/ and then I got amnesia and forget the things you said/ I lose my better judgement and I take up smoking crack/ right then, that's when I'll take you back." I'll Take You Back - Brad Paisley-Robert Arthur-Tim Owens.

West Virginia born singer-songwriter and hotshot guitarist Brad Paisley is big enough to get away with mixing his dope and booze imagery with a little irony.

Yes, even on lucrative mainstream U.S. radio there's still wowsers and puny pressure groups whose inadequacies prompt them to flex their myopic muscles in censorship.

Not quite as draconian as the fifties, depicted in the BBC documentary Lost Highway, when Jean Shepard suffered for her reality rooted songs.

Paisley uses his crack smoking line to accentuate rejection of a former lover - a stark contrast to his romance requiem Flowers and rollicking entrée The World.

Ah, but it's on his drinking songs that he skates on irony and mixes messages and metaphors.

On Paisley's previous disc his award-winning duet with Alison Krauss on Whiskey Lullaby was a stone country tragic weeper.


But Alcohol - first single from fourth album Time Well Wasted (Arista-Sony-BMG) - topped charts despite being a flippant parody of perils of liquor.

"And since the day I left Milwaukee, Lynchburg and Bordeaux, France/ been making the bars lots of big money and helping white people dance."

It's a deft touch with alcohol - not the victims or vanquished - being the narrator.
And, with a Jimmy Buffett like mimicry, life has imitated art with fans flocking to his gigs with lampshades on their heads.

Now this may seem tepid stuff compared to fans of the angst ridden corrals of rap and rock.

But the best country artists and their songs have a longer shelf life than disposal pop peers blown out of the saddle by the wanton winds of fashion.


Paisley, who had songs cut by Tracy Byrd, David Ball and David Kersh before he won a recording deal, wrote 10 of 15 tunes on his new disc.

But not duets with Alan Jackson on Guy Clark-Darrell Scott rarity Out In The Parkin' Lot and Dolly Parton on When I Get Where I'm Going and trad gospel tune Uncloudy Day.

"That's a really big part of country music life and history," says Paisley, now 32.

"That's pretty much a constant. You never go to the Opry and don't hear gospel before the night is over. This is one way of keeping my foot in the tradition."

The singer tempers his flippancy with melancholia in Waitin' On A Woman where the narrator's wait began in 1952 but won't end until they both reach the other side.

It sits well with the eternal love in She's Everything, sensual Rainin' You and Love Is Never Ending and precious paternal paean Time Well Wasted.

Paisley indulges in self-parody with a sting in the tail of the tale to the femme fatale in Easy Money - definitely not the Todd Snider song of the same name - and You Need a Man Around Here.

He struts his staccato guitar picking in Time Warp but risks street cred in bonus track Cornography with George Jones, Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Dolly and James Burton.

Paisley credits his road band on the disc but not actress spouse Kimberly - from Jim Belushi TV show According to Jim - with a guitar cameo on Waitin' On A Woman.

top / back to diary