"Someday I'm gonna be famous, do I have talent, well no/ these days you don't really need it, thanks to reality shows." - Celebrity - Brad Paisley.

Brad Paisley and Kimberley Williams

When West Virginian Brad Paisley wed actress Kimberley Williams he had new insight on Hollyweird.

The singer wrote satirical smash hit Celebrity about the reality TV growth industry that spat out a vast vat of non-talent twerps.

The song, whose video and third album Mud On The Tyres (Arista-BMG) featured Opry comedian Little Jimmy Dickens, shot the album to mainstream chart tops.

But Paisley, 31, says the song was not inspired by his bride or prang prone Leann Rimes but a Nashville bumper sticker "celebrity in training."

"Can't wait to date a super model, can't wait to sue my dad/ can't wait to wreck a Ferrari on my way to rehab/ 'cause when you're a celebrity, it's adios reality/ you can act just like a fool/ people think you're cool, just 'cause you're on TV"

Paisley's choice of the song as a sales catalyst of a 16 track disc, featuring Alison Krauss and a raft of stone country legends, worked.

"I wanted was to make the concept something fun," Paisley revealed, "it didn't need to be the way Joan Baez would have sung about celebrity. It needed to be almost a Joe Walsh approach to it. It's fun to sing about celebrity problems because a lot of their problems are the kind of things all of us would love to have, myself included, even though I'm a semi celebrity."

Self-deprecation fits Paisley, once romantically linked with duet partner Chely Wright, and lampooned by Charlie Robison.

"You can get married for a month," says Paisley, "there's nothing strange about that. I find it fascinating, exciting, and I'm really glad they exist. It's more fun to have a world with weirdness. I don't want to eradicate that kind of behaviour. We need more of it.
We make them that way."

Famous People, penned by Paisley collaborators Chris DuBois and Chris Wallin, is a companion song of sorts and dedicated to Nashville song writer Randy Hardison who was kissed by fame when he was murdered.

The tale of a Kentuckian high school footy star, oft mistaken for a movie idol, has a whimsical focus.

"I saw it as so different from Celebrity," says Paisley, "Okay, it's dealing with a famous guy. It's more about a redneck who doesn't handle it. He knows he's annoying the guy to death with the things he's saying."

Paisley plays guitar throughout the disc, kicked off by the title track with Union Station banjo player Ron Block who guests on Famous People and The Best Thing That I Had Going.

Fellow band members Jerry Douglas (dobro) and Dan Tyminksi harmonise when their pal Krauss duets with Paisley on haunting Bill Anderson-Jon Randall double death ode Whiskey Lullaby.

Paisley believed the tale of a woman, who drank herself to death after her lover went to God the same way, was too dark.

"If it's one guy singing it sounds like the saddest thing in the world," Paisley said, "with a duet it sounds like each person is giving their version of the song. Alison brought it to a commercial point which it would have never have reached."

Paisley enlisted "celebrities" Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to harmonise on That's Love after he appeared on their sitcom which also stars his spouse.

Other guests are Red Volkaert, successor to Roy Nicholls in Merle Haggard's Strangers, on guitar on Spaghetti Western Swing on which George Jones, Anderson and Dickens add vocals.

Vince Gill harmonises on Hold Me in Your Arms and finale Farther Along, dedicated to Carolynn Gilmer - wife of Brad's West Texas born manager Jimmy who cut the historic hit, Sugar Shack.

Gilmer is a sidekick of Lloyd Maines daughter Natalie, making her second Australian tour with the Dixie Chicks.

Inclusion of bonus tracks, such as oft-recorded stone country weeper Is It Raining At Your House (Hank Cochran-Dean Dillon-Vern Gosdin) and vocal and instrumental cuts of Make A Mistake, may be an attempt to prove Paisley is the real deal.

That's not necessary for Paisley who wrote nine tunes including his prison ode The Cigar Song and drenches many tunes with Randel Currie's steel guitar.

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