Brad Paisley, 'This Is Country Music' (Arista Nashville)

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This Is Country Music
Critical Mass
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Label: Arista Nashville

by Mikael Wood

Paying penance, perhaps, for 2009's social-utopian American Saturday Night, Nashville's savviest superstar goes just-folks with a vengeance on This Is Country Music, the title track of which compares its subject to "a road that takes you home." Yet because Paisley writes with such song-doctor finesse -- "You looked like the cover of Brides magazine," he sings in "Love Her Like She's Leavin'," "and I looked like some guy in a tux" -- small-town homilies ("Old Alabama," "Camouflage") don't make you think of surrender. They make you think of life, small-town or otherwise.

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