on April 9, 2013
When listening to this new project by Brad, consider this: When all is said and done, the essence of great country music is great storytelling. That being said, this is a most excellent work by Mr. Paisley. He IS in the "wheelhouse" of what country music is all about, and at the hub of that wheel. Don't let anything anyone says distract you from that simple truth. Enjoy!
on April 14, 2013
I've seen quite a few people complaining that this album isn't "country" enough, and while I agree that it isn't a cookie-cutter example of Brad's usual stuff, I don't think it's any less country. Country music is an continuously-evolving entity that spans several sub-genres, and I for one am extremely thankful it doesn't all sound the same.
That said, I love this album, but I don't think it's his best. Whether it's Brad Paisley's awesome timing or my dumb luck, I always seem to get my hands on his new albums right at the beginning of the summer season. I then usually proceed to listen to the album for a few months, with my favorite song rotating to a new one every week or two. I'm amazed at how his CD's are packed with potential favorite songs. Yes, this CD is loaded with several really good songs, but I also think there's some weaker material as well. He doesn't quite show off his musicianship quite as much on this album, and the lyrics aren't always as compelling as they usually are.
So far, I think the best songs on this album are "Beat This Summer", "Karate", "Harvey Bodine", "Runaway Train", and in my opinion the best song by far is "Accidental Racist". It's caused quite the uproar, but people are just looking for something to get offended by these days. It's got a great message and something about it just really strikes a chord with me. Something that really impressed me is that the bonus tracks are actually really, really good. "Facebook Friends" is a great story, and "Get Even" is a fun song in the same vein as "Ticks".
One thing that this album is really lacking is a good love song - there's usually one or two great ones on each CD. Neither "I Can't Change the World" nor "The Mona Lisa" can carry the torch. They both seem a little simplistic to me, kind of like he knew he needed a love song on the CD and pulled one out of the pile.
There are some strange things with the album - you'll need to expand your horizons a little bit to really enjoy the full album. Yes, LL Cool J raps in "Accidental Racist" (I think that song is a beautiful collaboration between cultures). There are also a lot of synthetic sounds and instruments, and although it works most of the time, it does sound weird and out of place in certain situations (like the drum beat in "Those Crazy Christians").
Really, if this album were from almost any other artist, it would be five stars, no question. But alas, Brad Paisley has set the bar somewhere in the stratosphere with his dependably compelling stories, cliche-averse lyrics, and of course unmatchable guitar playing. To this day I still like to pick up "American Saturday Night" or "This is Country Music" and listen start-to-finish. I don't think this album quite lives up to that standard, but it's close. It's good. It's very good.
on April 19, 2013
I love this album. The guitar playing is new and fresh and I love how BP throws in some slide guitar on a few solos which are some of the finest since Leroy Parnell. And all the controversy about it is complete BS. This album sets a new standard in Country music.
on April 14, 2013
Ignore all the media blathering from people who don't know Brad's history and have taken one song out of context just to increase their own readership/viewership. Just listen to the songs on this album and decide for yourself. This is an artist stretching outside the comfort zone of country music. It's not what you expect from him, but for me it was MORE than I expected, not less.
I'm a life-long country music fan, but the industry is stuck in a rut of too many superficial songs about trucks and hot girls from male performers. Refreshingly, here is one singing about topics that make you think and feel.
On top of that there is a level of creative daring in the production of this album that doesn't typically happen in country music. The instrumentation, arrangements, mix, effects, etc. all bring unexpected surprises. The people working on this were clearly relishing the creative freedom that Brad gave them as the Producer of the album.
Brad Paisley's song, "Accidental Racist" has been reviewed, praised, criticized, and endlessly discussed since its release. The singer and his counterpoint, LlCool J, a rap star, in this song have received a lot of personal criticism for it, and I find that disappointing. Any attempt, even a clumsy one, at crossing the great racial divide in our country should be applauded, and to see it in a younger generation is gratifying to me. The contrasts evident in the musical style and the words make this a fascinating work, but one does see how fans of country music would find the hip hop strange and the fans of hip hop would squirm a bit with the country/western aspect disturbing, but the combination of the two, to me, inspires hope that maybe one day things will be easier between the races. This isn't the only song worthy of note on this album, though, not is LlCool J the only guest vocalist. Charlie Daniel, Eric Idle, Roger Miller and others join in as well on other songs, and all of the songs make a social statement of value. I am not a country music person; I am not a hip hop person, I love a variety of music from classical to folk, but I can enjoy it all and respect the artists who bring to to us.
on April 24, 2013
Brad comes through again with another excellent CD. Aside from his talent alone, he teams up with a myriad of stars from different genres of music such as Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, Eric Idle, LL Cool J and Chralie Daniels.
on November 15, 2013
I've been a Brad Paisley fan from the first time I heard him.
This album pretty much knocks it out of the ballpark.
His Bill Crook t-guitars never sounded better than on this extended Deluxe Version of the Wheelhouse disc. My favourites thus far are "The Mona Lisa", "Get Even", "Onryo" and "Yankee Doodle Dixie". How many other albums can boast of appearances by Charlie Daniels, Eric Idle and Roger Miller like this one does? Another highlight of this set is "Officially Alive" in which Brad plays a custom made guitar which was given him by Lee Feldman a short time before Mr. Feldman passed away from cancer.
This album is one more fine milestone in the evolution of this fine guitarslinger!
on April 24, 2013
Up front; I am not probably the best Paisley or country expert to give my opinion on "Wheelhouse". I do however enjoy good music and am a sucker for great story telling. I am definitely get a warm, southern hospitality feel; which is what I look for in country. This fondly reminds me of Tom Petty's Southern Accents and John Hiatt's Slow Turning and perhaps to a lesser degree Bon Jovi's Lost Highway. You could probably put in there almost anything from Whiskeytown's catalog. The downfall in this release is that there are too many balls in the air seemingly jammed into 16 tracks. By comparison, you can look at some Ryan Adams solo releases to see all the clutter here. BUT PLEASE, don't throw him into the Taylor Swift "selling out" pile. It's tough to criticize someone for trying just a little bit too hard. And clearly he wasn't looking to sell-out here. Lot's of creative innovation here, that other country folks could learn from.
on April 24, 2013
I am a HUGE Brad Paisley fan! I own nearly every cd (and song) ever released! This cd, unfortunately, isn't my favorite. Some of the songs are just kind of weird. Accidental Racist, for example, seems to have good intentions but it's just weird to combine rap and country! The hate rap! I feel like most people that like country music hate rap, so that just seems like a bad idea to me. Definitely some very catchy and addicting songs (Harvey Bodine is one of my faves!) but also a few not so good ones. I also miss hearing a hymn on each cd! I don't think this one has a hymn like his previous cds. I'm still a huge Brad Paisley fan, but I think there's room to improve on this cd.
on June 3, 2013
I am a huge BP fan, and bought this the day it came out. I love his catchy songs, his humor, and the guitar playing is breathtaking! This isn't my favorite of his albums, but it's still a must-have for country music fans like me. I also like how the intros and silly "mini tracks" he puts in between songs are on their own tracks. They're great for listening the whole album, but you can edit them out of your MP3 player playlist when you want to shuffle the songs. I wish this had the "auto rip" feature, so I didn't have to import the songs manually. Apparently that only is a feature on certain albums you buy from Amazon.