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“If you look at the country charts right now, we’re not only in party mode, but we’re drinking heavily.
So a song that’s taking on one of the biggest social issues in our country would be a real reach for what’s driving listenership right now.” Plenty of the songs on “Moonshine” operate in that boozy mode, but Paisley is hoping radio will eventually latch on to “Shattered Glass,” a feminist ballad about empowerment and progress. Important and lovable.” For an hour, he’s been speaking in crisp, confident rhythms, but for a moment, he zones out and his voice jumps up a key, as if he’s seeking permission from God, his fans, the future or maybe just his own human limitations: “Can I do that?
He has a knack for singing from other perspectives, sometimes playing an opinionated narrator on the brink of a big realization.
On the new album, there’s “Gone Green” — a song penned by Paisley’s bassist, Kenny Lewis — in which a “redneck” reluctantly embraces environmentalism in a world that’s “done gone green.” On 2013’s “Those Crazy Christians,” Paisley sings from the position of a grouchy atheist willing to admit that, “If I ever really needed help, well, you know who I’d call is those crazy Christians.” And all those ditties about the ups and downs and upside-downs of alcohol?
Of any country superstar working today, he’s the guy with the songs most intimately connected to the contemporary American experience — the blood, the sweat, the tears, the beers and everything else in the grocery bag.