Brad Paisley is working on a new album at his home studio south of Nashville. It’s the same place where he recorded his last album, “Wheelhouse.” Only this time, he’s added a few new features. Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton traveled to Brad’s studio this week and got a first-hand look.
(Lon) A house is like an album, it’s never done! (Brad) You’re right. It’s never finished. When we finished the last album, and it sat here a while. There was a whole part of the house that wasn’t touched, and it needed a lot of work. So we came up with incredible ideas, and put in a guitar room that has a Corvette theme, and then we have a California room that has furniture from the house we had in California that we sold, a couch where I wrote Letter To Me and Ticks, so we brought that couch here, and now it feels like you’re back there. I sound more like The Eagles in that room. Then we took the enclosed front porch, we turned it into a bar. When I went to play in Dublin this year, I brought my contractor who’d never been over there with me, and told him I wanted him to build me an Irish pub. We’re getting the taps, and I’m going to bartender school so I know what I’m doing.
(Lon) I thought you didn’t drink? (Brad) I don’t much, but that’s what I like about the idea. It’s like my dog, who’ll do anything for a treat. That’s the thing, I’ve got the bar in the house, and the band will do anything I want. They will cut any song, it’s field of dreams. If you build it, they’ll record any song. There’ll be big screens. I’ll try to make it the most exclusive bar in the county. We already wrote two songs in there. The day it was done, we went in to smoke cigars, and ended up writing two songs. The publishing stays with the bar.
So what did you learn from the last album about your music? A lot. It’s almost something I can’t put into words. It gives me a renewed fire to go back and do something way more like what you expect from me, because it was a reset kind of album, and it was exhausting, because we went way outside the comfort zone. Now it’s not about that. We’ve had more fun making this album than anything I’ve ever done, because, well there’s a bar in the house, and you can smell the beer in the songs. It’s very much an album of this is where I come from, this is who I am, this is my perspective from this holler in Tennessee.
So where are you in the making of the album? Near the end, not missing much at this point. We’ve cut 11. Couple more ideas I’m toying around with, mixing, it’s really shaping up to something I can’t wait for people to hear. It’s an overwhelmingly fun, positive project. There’s questions and darkness here and there, but not a lot. It’s mostly an interesting view of the world, and love and life from me. In many ways, it’s the most ‘me’ of any album I’ve done.
In what way? Did you write all 11 songs? One song I didn’t write. It’s the most me in the sense that, it’s me when I first moved here, it’s me in West Virginia, it’s me now, the things that I think people want to hear is what we’re singing about.
Are they all recent songs? One song is older, that I wrote with Brent Anderson, that was gonna be on his album when he had a record deal, and it’s called Higher Education, it’s about college. That’s the only one that existed prior.
Any special guests? No special guests yet.
You said Wheelhouse was exhausting, so how about this album? This is the most freeing, creative, we laughed more writing these songs than anything else we’ve done. I envision my audience when I write songs, but never more than with this album.
Did you learn more about your audience after Wheelhouse? Without a doubt. You can’t make albums just for commercial success. Every now and then, you’ve got to have a challenge. I learned a lot about these amazing people who go to concerts and this next album is so much for them.
By the way, after we left Brad’s studio, his co-producer tweeted that they’d just recorded a song featuring Emmylou Harris, so there now is a special guest on the album.