Easton Corbin’s New Hit Single – “Baby Be My Love Song”

EastonCDEaston Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” (single)
*** ½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Mercury Nashville

About Easton Corbin: He debuted in 2009 with “A Little More Country Than That.” That single went to No. 1, as did the next single, “Roll With It.” Easton Corbin also has had top-10 hits with “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and “All Over the Road.”

And, now, Easton Corbin’s next big hit is now available for purchase. It is the third single from his upcoming album, Clockwork, and it is titled “Baby Be My Love Song.”

Written by Brett James and Jim Collins, “Baby Be My Love Song” is a “feel good” song that will extend that feeling of summer loving into the approaching fall and chilly winter still ahead.

Easton Corbin has one of the most consistently pleasing voices in country music today. While other acts may come and go with regularity, when the country music industry first heard his debut smash hit, “A Little More Country Than That,” it was clear to everyone who loved neo-traditional country that Easton Corbin was here to stay. And thankfully, he continues to find material that is as good as his instrument.

So, enjoy the latest contagious song from one of our favorites. He puts out great songs like… well, like clockwork, I guess you’d say.

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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Country Music Must-Read: ‘Nashville Songwriter’ (by Jake Brown)

Nashville-SongwriterNashville Songwriter: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits
Author: Jake Brown
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
To order this book on Amazon, click here.

“A good title and a good melody and some honesty — there’s your formula for a hit right there.” (Dallas Davidson, 2013 & 2012 ACM Songwriter of the Year)

One sign of a great country song is that when you hear it, you’d swear it was about you or your life. Another sign is that you can’t get the words or the tune out of your head. The moment you hear a great song, it becomes “your” song and begins to accumulate its own meaning. But before it made it to the soundtrack of your life, what made the song come into being? You’d be surprised just how some of your favorite country songs were written.

In Nashville Songwriter: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits, Jake Brown interviews some of the top writers in Nashville and gets the back-story on many of that town’s biggest hits, including “Always On My Mind,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” “Take Me There,” “Crash My Party,” “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Ocean Front Property,” “Big Green Tractor” and “Fly Over States.” Just some of the songwriters interviewed are Bill Anderson, Bob DiPiero, Tom Shapiro, Dean Dillon, Wane Carson, Jeff Silbar, Chris DuBois, Brett James, Kelley Lovelace, Lee Thomas Miller and Neil Thrasher.


There are many audiences for Jake Brown’s enlightening book. This first is the country music fan wanting to know more about where their favorite songs came from. Next, is anyone who likes a good story, full of humor and ingenuity. Then, there is the cultural archeologist: anyone who wants a deeper understanding of why country music continues to soar in popularity. Mr. Brown has logged, through oral interview and commentary, just what the connection is between popular culture and the expressive arts in modern times. By giving voice to the writers themselves, Mr. Brown has proven the power of the American blend of preparedness, inventiveness and pure luck.

The book is also a master class in songwriting, giving the book appeal for anyone interested in the music industry. Example after example is given, showing the almost infinite number of ways that a song can be written and brought to life. Whether it is the rigorous development of an idea from start to finish, or a songwriter’s ability to go with the flow and respond to what just feels right, when it comes to writing a country song, there is no “right” or “wrong” way. That idea may be commonly accepted, but to read the various situations that resulted in some of the top country songs around is inspiring, especially to anyone hoping to write songs themselves. It is overflowing with music industry wisdom. For that reason alone, Jake Brown’s Nashville Songwriter is a “must-buy” for any songwriter starting out in what can be a seemingly impenetrable business.

For those who don’t write songs and are amazed that what seems like a daunting task can result in powerful artistic expression, Mr. Brown’s book is an invaluable peek into the process. If there’s one thing that is obvious to the reader, by the time they finish this entertaining and informative book, it’s… well… I think country songwriters Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller put it best, in a song:

“Unsinkable ships sink.
Unbreakable walls break.
Sometimes the things you think would never happen,
Happen just like that.
Unbendable steel bends.
If the fury of the wind is unstoppable,
I’ve learned to never underestimate,
The impossible.”

(Lyric from “The Impossible,” released by Joe Nichols in 2002)

Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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New Blues: Rob Stone (Gotta Keep Rollin’)

rob-stone_gotta-keep-rollinCDRob Stone – Gotta Keep Rollin’
*** (out of 4 stars)
Label: VizzTone Label Group

Gotta Keep Rollin’, the new album from Chicago blues singer/harmonica artist Rob Stone, should help bring him the attention he deserves. While he keeps alive the tradition of Chicago blues, Stone also offers his energetic take on where blues music is at in the 21st century.

Stone is joined by a band that features Chris James (guitar), Patrick Rynn (bass) and Willie “The Touch” Hayes (drums), along with guests, including Eddie Shaw (sax), guitarist John Primer, David Maxwell and Henry Gray.

The album, a collection of 12 tracks (with six originals), gives Stone and his mammoth harmonica-playing the chance to wail on a variety of songs. It’s a little bit of everything that always leaves you wanting more. Stone’s vocals are particularly strong on Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Wonderful Time” and on Jazz Gillum’s “She Belongs To Me,” and the instrumental “Strollin with Sasquatch” (featuring Ariyo on piano) is about the most impressive track on the album. As for the originals, they are just as satisfying, with “Anything Can Happen” (featuring Eddie Shaw on tenor sax) my personal favorite.

It’s easy to take a great blues artist for granted. That natural quality that allows a song to rumble within and tumble out? Rob Stone is one of those who makes it all seem easy. That’s art.

Essential Downloads: ”Wonderful Time,” “Anything Can Happen,” “She Belongs to Me,” “Strollin’ With Sasquatch.”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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New Blues: Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado’s ‘Too Many Roads’

cdThorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado — Too Many Roads
*** (out of 4 stars)
Label: Ruf Records

Of all the Danish blues artists I’ve encountered, Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado are my favorite. They prove once and for all, with their new album, Too Many Roads, that the blues are a universal state of mind. Thorbjørn Risager sings with an authenticity that might surprise anyone who thought that the blues could only be found in the Memphis, Kansas City, Chicago, Tulsa area or thereabouts. He is backed by The Black Tornados, a seven piece band of superb musicians, along with two solid background vocalists.

There is a gravitas to Risager’s sound, a slightly sinister quality that evokes an after-hours club atmosphere, and it is captured perfectly by the album’s producers, Søren Bøjgaard (along with Risager).

They may have toured extensively in 15 countries, and released eight albums to date… but if this is the first time you’ve heard of Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado, I guarantee it won’t be the last.

Essential Downloads: “If You Wanna Leave,” “Paradise,” “Red Hot & Blue.”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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New Bluegrass: The Roys — ‘The View’

The-Roys-CDThe Roys — The View
*** (out of 4 stars)
Label: Rural Rhythm Records

Brother and sister duo The Roys have been making consistently good bluegrass music for years, continually gaining new fans and industry respect along the way (as well as winning consecutive Inspirational Country Music Bluegrass Artist of the Year and Duo of the Year awards). But that doesn’t mean that they are resting on their laurels. Not Elaine and Lee Roy. They continue to make solid music and tour it so that bluegrass lovers can hear their sweet harmonies in person. Some things never change, though. Things like Elaine’s heartfelt phrasing (designed to make sure the listener actually hears the lyric), and Lee’s sweet mandolin playing. On their new album The View, they have put together 11 of the most touching songs heard by any artist in country or bluegrass music this year.

What is new with this album is the contributions of some of Nashville’s top songwriters, including Steve Dean, Jenee Fleenor, Josh Thompson, Keesy Timmer, Clint White, Daniel Patrick, Larry Alderman and the great Bill Anderson. It is hard to listen to these songs without getting caught up in the emotional world of each. But then again, why should you? Isn’t that the point — communicating emotions and ideas through music and words?

Essential Downloads: “No More Lonely,” “Live The Life You Love,” “No More Tears Left to Cry.”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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Dustin Lynch’s New Album is ‘Where It’s At’

DustinLynchDustin Lynch — Where It’s At
*** ½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Broken Bow Records

Where It’s At, Dustin Lynch’s follow-up to his debut album, is more of the same; in other words, it’s one spectacular song after another. With the title track (featuring that catchy and recurring “yep-yep”) already certified gold and top 5, the second LP from one of country music’s most authentic singer-songwriters will continue to propel him on the rise toward stardom. (Of course, having a producer with impeccable instincts, like Mickey Jack Cones, certainly helps).

Sophomore releases are tricky; they either prove the staying power of an artist, or they offer the first glimpse at an artist’s journey toward oblivion. Where It’s At is proof positive that Dustin Lynch is here to stay.

The 15-track album shows that whatever direction country music might pull Lynch in the future, he is more than up to the task; the album includes a little of almost everything, from pop to soul to neo-traditional country. Lynch co-wrote 5 of the songs on the album, and it’s clear that he has plenty to say these days. Since his debut album, he’s more experienced as a performer, and as a songwriter, it shows. With this release, Lynch offers more uptempo songs than before. Having already established himself as a romantic heart-throb, he is obviously setting out to conquer radio and live concert audiences next. No doubt this comes as the result of Lynch’s having toured with Keith Urban (on the ‘Light the Fuse Tour’). I’m guessing that’s when Lynch found the free time to write most of this material. If so, being surrounded by that energy was a very good thing — there are several tracks here (such as ‘To the Sky’) that will get an audience’s hands in the air.

Everyone will find a song they can relate to on this album, from seductive to celebratory. When they do, there can be no doubt that they will want to see Dustin Lynch perform live in concert. And if any music deserves to be played at full volume, it’s Where It’s At. So crank it up — it’s a party, and it’s where it’s at in country music right now.

Essential Downloads: “To the Sky,” “Where It’s At,” “She Wants A Cowboy,” “World To Me,” “What You Wanna Hear.”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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b image

The 2014 CMA Award Nominations

b imageThe 2014 CMA Award nominations are…

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan

Miranda Lambert

Blake Shelton

George Strait

Keith Urban

Album of the Year

Crash My Party — Luke Bryan (Produced by Jeff Stevens)

Fuse — Keith Urban (Produced by Benny Blanco, Nathan Chapman, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, Mike Elizondo, Dann Huff, Jay Joyce, Stargate, Keith Urban, and Butch Walker)

Platinum — Miranda Lambert (Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Worf)

Riser — Dierks Bentley (Produced by Ross Copperman, Jaren Johnston, and Arturo Buenahora, Jr.)

The Outsiders — Eric Church (Produced by Jay Joyce and Arturo Buenahora, Jr.)

Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Kacey Musgraves

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Dierks Bentley

Luke Bryan

Eric Church

Blake Shelton

Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

Eli Young Band

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

The Band Perry

Zac Brown Band

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush

Jerry Douglas

Paul Franklin

Dann Huff

Mac McAnally

Single of the Year

“Automatic” — Miranda Lambert (Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Woft)

“Drunk on a Plane” — Dierks Bentley (Produced by Ross Copperman, Jaren Johnston, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.)

“Give Me Back My Hometown” — Eric Church (Produced by Jay Joyce and Arturo Buenahora, Jr.)

“Meanwhile, Back at Mama’s” — Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill (Produced by Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw)

“Mine Would Be You” — Blake Shelton (Produced by Scott Hendricks)

Song of the Year

“Automatic” — Miranda Lambert (Written by Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert)

“Follow Your Arrow” — Kacey Musgraves (Written by Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Shane McAnally)

“Give Me Back My Hometown” — Eric Church (Written by Eric Church and Luke Laird)

“I Don’t Dance” — Lee Brice (Written by Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, and Dallas Davidson)

“I Hold On” — Dierks Bentley (Written by Brett James and Dierks Bentley)

Musical Event of the Year

“Bakersfield” — Vince Gill & Paul Franklin (Mercury Nashville)

“Meanwhile, Back at Mama’s” — Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill (Big Machine)

“You Can’t Make Old Friends” — Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton (Warner Music Nashville)

“We Were Us” — Keith Urban featuring Miranda Lambert (Capitol Records Nashville)

“Somethin’ Bad” — Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood (RCA Nashville)

Vocal Duo of the Year

Dan + Shay

Florida Georgia Line

Love and Theft

The Swon Brothers

Thompson Square

Music Video of the Year

“Automatic” — Miranda Lambert (Directed by Trey Fanjoy)

“Bartender” — Lady Antebellum (Directed by Shane Drake)

“Drunk on a Plane — Dierks Bentley (Directed by Wes Edwards)

“Follow Your Arrow” — Kacey Musgraves (Directed by Kacey Musgraves and Honey)

“Somethin’ Bad” — Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood (Directed by Trey Fanjoy)

New Artist of the Year

Brandy Clark

Brett Eldredge

Kip Moore

Thomas Rhett

Cole Swindell

Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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The 2014 US Open: Things We’ll Miss (& Things We Won’t)

0Yes, we know that the U.S. Open is still going. But with the women’s final obviously going to Serena, and with the men’s final freeing up our need to watch tennis on Monday night, it’s time to publish this piece now… and move on to something much more exciting… like college football… or raking the leaves.

It seemed like it was going to be one of those Grand Slams where the losers were the real winners. When it still appeared that the usual top players were going to make it to the finals, we savored the also-rans who dropped out along the way — Gael Monfils, in particular (who wouldn’t love to have seen a Nishikori vs. Monfils final?), and Aleksandra Krunic.

Then, the unexpected finally happened. We ended up with two first-time finalists in Men’s singles. I guess that good news, isn’t it — even if one of them (Cilic) is a convicted doper?

True, CBS was probably so upset that tennis fans might just have to stream it online next year, but the excitement for those fans was palpable. Who would have imagined that, after Wawrinka’s big win at this year’s Australian Open, the last big final of the year would also end with a new name at the top?

But, in general, 2014 has been one of the duller U.S. Opens in recent memory. Roland-Garros and Wimbledon are so much more inherently exciting to watch than the U.S. and Australian Opens these days. Why? It seems obvious that the “natural surfaces” of Rolland-Garros (clay) and Wimbledon (grass) lend themselves to more compelling and higher quality matches than the hardcourt tournaments (especially when it comes to women’s tennis). While we’re on the subject, how about returning to wooden racquets to really test the players’ gamesmanship? Now, that I’d buy more than just a Grounds Pass to see.

And so, we bid farewell to the 2014 U.S. Open… some of it we will miss (like the kettle corn popcorn), and some of it we hope never to encounter again (like the prices for the kettle corn popcorn).


Things we won’t miss:

- The terrible (random and dull) TV coverage of most American players’ matches.

- Milos Raonic’s ridiculous one-armed shirt.

- Spectators who do not “take their seats quickly” when the players are waiting.

- Articles from cranky old guys (like Bill Dwyer in the Los Angeles Times) that do everything they can to dismiss the next generation of American tennis stars.

- Victoria Azarenka’s terrible singing voice (not that her tennis shreiking voice is any better)

- The USTA official looping announcements stating that seating is limited in Louis Armstrong Stadium, with Louis being mispronounced. (Mr. Armstrong pronounced his name “Lewis,” not “Loo-ee”).

- The humidity. Oh, and the same old celebrities (what do they do — haul them out of Madame Tussaud’s on 42nd St.?)


- Patrick McEnroe as head of player development for the United States Tennis Association.

- Milos Raonic’s lizard-like tongue.

- Ridiculous articles like the one from Juliet Macur in the New York Times calling for men to only play three out of five sets, in order to “spare the men from trying to push themselves.”

- The Peng vs. Wozniacki match (and the way that women’s matches don’t adhere to the same rules as men’s matches).

- The media (the “it’s gonna be a long, long time before there is an important US tennis player again” narrative is just as tired as seeing corporate commercials featuring Andy Roddick and John McEnroe in 2014.


Things we will miss:

- Kei Nishikori. Who ever expected he would be the one to provide most of the entertainment value during week two?

- The chance to see some decent play up close on the outer courts (especially from Borna Coric, Victor Estrella Burgos, Nicole Gibbs and Jared Donaldson).

- 27-year-old James McGee, the Irish No 1 who showed stunning determination to navigate his way through qualifying and earn his first appearance in the main draw of a grand slam.

- Gael Monfils’ continual ability to entertain while impressing with incredible skill.

- 15-year-old CiCi Bellis, who beat 12th-seed Dominika Cibulkova.

- Some very competitive wheelchair tennis (especially from Shingo Kunieda and Gustavo Fernandez).

- Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios. Plain and simple. But we all know he’ll be back! After all, he’s the guy who said, of New York: “It’s awesome. I’m going to get scorched in Melbourne, but it’s my favorite Grand Slam.”


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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Rounder Records To Release First-Ever Compilation Of Madeleine Peyroux’s Career

MadeleinePeyroux_11661-36154-02_RGB_1CBS Sunday Morning to feature Peyroux on September 7

Rounder Records has announced the October 14, 2014 release of ‘Keep Me in Your Heart for a While: The Best of Madeleine Peyroux,’ the debut anthology of the critically acclaimed, singer-songwriter’s nearly 20-year career. The album includes favorites not only from Peyroux’s releases with Rounder, but also tracks from her Atlantic and Decca/Emarcy catalogs. Additionally, the compilation includes one previously unreleased recording — the collection’s title track and Warren Zevon cover, “Keep Me in Your Heart” — which appeared in 2011’s independent film Union Square. Liner notes by former Atlantic Records A&R man Yves Beauvais, who discovered Peyroux, complete the package.

Ms. Peyroux, whose voice has often been compared to that of Billie Holiday’s, was discovered while in her early twenties, when Beauvais spotted her at a New York club. He recalls the worldly singer’s set to be “some of the most exciting, viscerally moving minutes of my music-listening life.” Beauvais subsequently signed Peyroux to Atlantic and co-produced her 1996 debut Dreamland.

Prior to this life-changing performance, the American-born Peyroux was a musician on the streets of Paris. A precocious teenager, living abroad with her mother, Madeleine quickly became entranced with local buskers, spending much of her time accompanying a regular band on the sidewalks of the Latin Quarter with her distinctive voice, and, by 15, had dropped out of school to join a touring blues and jazz band.

Following the whirlwind release and promotion of the critically acclaimed Dreamland, the 22-year old Peyroux disappeared from the limelight, just as the buzz surrounding the singer was at its peak. Health issues were partly to blame, but the pressures of a quick rise to stardom in the jazz world became overwhelming. Peyroux took time to find herself, and, in doing so, returned to her first love of busking.

When she finally felt ready to return to the studio, Madeleine was paired with renowned producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock) — a match that would prove to be a successful one, stretching over several, subsequent albums. The result was 2004’s Careless Love (Rounder) — a diverse collection of covers penned by everyone from Elliott Smith to Hank Williams. Breakout track “Don’t Wait Too Long” helped push Madeleine into the mainstream by topping the jazz charts and appearing in national commercial spots and film soundtracks.

Peyroux followed the success of Careless Love with 2006’s highly anticipated Half the Perfect World (Rounder). The singer-songwriter once again paired original material (“I’m All Right,” among them) with an eclectic selection of covers (paying homage to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Serge Gainsbourg). 2009’s Bare Bones (Rounder) shook up the prototype, and featured all original compositions by Peyroux, including the likes of the upbeat and twangy “Instead.” Continuing her artistic growth, Madeleine released Standing on the Rooftop — her debut with Decca Records — with a new producer, GRAMMY® Award-winning Craig Street (John Legend, k.d. lang, Norah Jones).

Peyroux’s most recent recording project, 2013’s The Blue Room (Decca), found the singer-songwriter once again teaming up with Larry Klein, and paying homage to Ray Charles’ classic 1962 LP, Modern Sounds in Country Western Music. Covering a handful of Charles’ songs from the album, and adding such fitting tracks as Randy Newman’s “Guilty” and Warren Zevon’s “Desperadoes Under the Eaves,” Peyroux melded multiple genres, creating an album that floated in the ether between jazz, country, blues and pop.

A living document of her artistic metamorphoses, Keep Me in Your Heart for a While … combines the poignant with the charming, the old with the new, and the standard favorites with the original compositions. Beauvais writes of his protégé, “Whether she sings Leonard Cohen (“Dance Me to the End of Love”), Bob Dylan (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”), Charlie Chaplin (“Smile”), Edith Piaf (“La Vie en Rose”), or post-punk songster Elliott Smith (“Between the Bars”), [Madeleine] brings to this most diverse material the same beguilingly cautious, respectful, and crystal clear way with the melody, the same revelatory focus to the lyric’s delivery.”

Track Listing
1. Don’t Wait Too Long 3:11
2. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go 3:25
3. Between the Bars 3:43
4. (Getting Some) Fun Out of Life 3:13
5. Dance Me to the End of Love 3:57
6. Smile 4:00
7. La Vie en Rose 3:20
8. Half the Perfect World 4:22
9. Guilty 3:54
10. I’m All Right 3:29
11. Desperadoes Under the Eaves [extended version] 5:23
12. The Kind You Can’t Afford 3:59
13. Instead 5:15
14. Keep Me in Your Heart [first audio release] 3:35
15. This Is Heaven to Me 3:10

Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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Another Dismal New Brad Paisley Album – ‘Moonshine in the Trunk’

1Brad Paisley — Moonshine in the Trunk
*½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Sony Nashville

When he’s not cowtowing to political correctness (which seems to be a full time job for him this decade), Brad Paisley still cranks out the CDs. Unfortunately, even with all of their desperate attempts at meaningfulness, they are just becoming more and more about less and less. It’s what comes from trying to be all things to all audiences.

Yes, I’m tired of the same old, same old from Brad Paisley. Album after album, he frames his increasingly weak vocal instrument with harmony vocals big enough to fill the Mormon Tabernacle, along with a down-home banjo or fiddle to ensure that you know he’s country, of course. The old act is stale and Paisley doesn’t seem to be brave enough to return to his roots. I am dying for a simple acoustic album that highlights his guitar-work and his early career impulse for writing a song that pleases himself more than the faceless, tasteless masses.

Stuck in this dismal artistic pattern is Moonshine in the Trunk, Brad Paisley’s 10th studio release. If you like Brad Paisley (or the persona known as “Brad Paisley,” since it seems impossible to feel like we ever get the real guy), you will like this album. There’s every aspect of him, amped up and hitting the back row with his “I’m just a college kid who likes to party to country music on Friday nights” act. It gets old. The sense of humor that he was known for in his younger years now seems to come with its own laugh track. And, just to give tedious Luke Bryan a run for his piles and piles of money, there are plenty of drinking songs (tequila and margaritas, ‘natch) here as well.

Essential Downloads: none

The lamest track, by far, is “American Flag on the Moon.” With lyrics like:
“Tonight, I dare you to dream / Go on, believe impossible things / Whenever anybody says there’s anything we can’t do / I mean, after all, there’s an American flag on the moon,” you just have to ask, “Huh? Isn’t this the same guy who devoted a song ["Welcome to the Future"] to how wonderful life in America would be under Obama?” Or, as he patronizingly sang in “Accidental Racist”: “I’m just a white man / coming to you from the Southland / I’m proud of where I’m from / But not everything we’ve done…”

Still, the eye-roll-inducing brand of Southern pride that the Paisley corporation so calculatedly invokes is still on a tear with the new album. His style is straight from the Phil Donahue school of thought (yes, if you don’t get the reference, I’m saying that his ideas are that old).

It takes a lot for a non-country major release not to hit the charts as a number one seller these days. As teen pop singer Ariana Grande (whose own album debuted at #1 this week) would ask, “How’s this more-of-the-same-thing working out, for you, Mr. Paisley?”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.


Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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