This week's Friday Song is from an artist who's long overdue, Brad Paisley. I hereby vote every song he's ever done for this slot! Not really, of course; that wouldn't be fair. But the guy had FIVE nominations for last month's CMA Awards and received exactly ZERO awards. How bizarre is that? Paisley is one of the five or six most talented male artists in Country music, and can't get and network TV recognition. He said, sincerely, that he would have been surprised to receive a major award this year because he's "new." Or something like that. Okay, there's humble, then there's too humble! I'll come back to that, but let's put just one song from Mr. Humble up for the Friday Song: When I Get Where I'm Going (with Dolly Parton singing in duet).
When I Get Where I'm Going is one of those enchanting, moving country songs which feels like a classic the first time you hear it. Where Brad's going is "up," figuratively as well as literally. Yup, it's a song about going to Heaven, and the singer is pretty sure he's bound to end up there. First he'll ride a raindrop, or run his hands through a lion's mane. He'll go searching for his grandfather, who's waiting there for him. Sounds a little hokey, but it doesn't come off that way. The lyrics are so sincere, without being maudlin, that you can't help but smile at the imagery there. You may not believe that you will end up meeting St. Peter when you go, but you believe the hero in this song will make it. He doesn't even testify to his good deeds or anything otherwise worthy, but you can feel it in his voice. He's a good guy who cares about the right things.
The real kick rides in on the final verse. There, Paisley sits down and lets Ms. Parton lead the vocals into an incredible high. Brad doesn't seem to mind sharing the spotlight with acclaimed vocalists; he seems to seek that kind of musical magic that can only be achieved when talented singers blend their voices. The guy certainly isn't insecure about his place in Nashville. Last year Paisley knocked listeners out with a haunting duet featuring Allison Krause (Whiskey Lullaby, which did win at least two major awards). Parton's high-altitude harmonies set this sweet, simple tune on a higher plateau. Heavenly, you might say.
Brad Paisley knows how to have some good fun, too. His Celebrity video featured Jason Alexander, William Shatner (as Simon Cowell, essentially), and Little Jimmie Dickens. Furthermore, the whole song poked fun at success for those without talent. As if Brad would ever fit that category! Mud on the Tires, title cut from last year's CD, was a good, old-fashioned country-roads-are-good-for-lovin' song. Been done before, for sure, but not quite the way Paisley did it. Could've been a Chevy commercial and earned him millions. But the video was completely irreverent, showing clips and stills from some major music fest that suffered from monsoon rains. Mud everywhere, especially on the girls. Then there's the scene where two voluptuous babes end up mud-wrestling in a splendid parody of a recent beer commercial. Brad Paisley knows how to deliver all the goods: happy, sad, funny, poignant, petty or powerful. I'm sure his next release will be something cute and lightweight, just to balance off When I Get Where I'm Going. I'll love that one, too.
You'll see music from Brad Paisley nominated here again, without question. I'm sure Brad will win some real awards, in the meantime. I think he's appearing on the Grammy Awards shortly. Maybe he'll even get one. He more than deserves one.
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