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Brad Paisley
5th Gear
Arista Nashville/Sony BMG Nashville Records
www.bradpaisley.com


"Who's going to fill their shoes? Who's going to stand tall?" George Jones asked, "Who's going to play the Opry and the "Wabash Cannonball?"" When Brad Paisley became one of the youngest inductees to the Grand Ole Opry, Jones revealed his answer with an endorsement, "I am counting on you to carry on the tradition."

5th Gear is a flawless, Opry-styled variety show. Besides playing top-notch telecaster with a barbed-wire wit, Paisley delivers his hit-making hail-Mary pick-up line, "I want to check you for ticks" in the enviable way that sounds cute rather than creepy. He appeals to traditionalists on "Throttleneck" and popsters "Oh Love" with Carrie Underwood without sacrificing his integrity. When he sings "All I Wanted Was A Car," the destination is undeniably Bakersfield. "Letter To Me" successfully encourages frustrated teens by cleverly addressing the advice to his former self. Paisley avoids predictable vocal choices which, along with the sketch comedy of New Kung Pao Buckaroos, (minus No-Show Jones) serves to keep interest up.

-Ewan Wadharmi


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