Brad Talks "Southern Comfort Zone" - The Tennessean
Brad Paisley admits it. He's nervous
Thursday night the singer released ďSouthern Comfort Zone,Ē the debut single from his yet-to-be-titled album, to country radio. He knows the song, which incorporates everything from the voice of Eddie Stubbs to the Brentwood Baptist Church choir, sounds different than anything heís released up to this point.
He didnít write it to be commercial, but rather to set the tone for his upcoming album, which is due in stores April 9.
Now, itís the song that fans will hear first. As for what ďSouthern Comfort ZoneĒ is about, the singer is hesitant to say, because he says he thinks it will mean different things to different people.
ďI will say, I love Nashville and I love the South and I love living in that area,Ē he said, seated on his bus before his Virtual Reality tour date in Atlanta last weekend. ďItís very comfortable, and we all feel so at home there. Itís not until you see the world that you learn to appreciate that. Iím encouraging people to take a look around. Thereís some great places around the world that will expand your mind and also make you love this Southern comfort zone.Ē
The song is one of about 14 tracks Paisley and his band have recorded in a farmhouse the singer recently turned into a studio on his Williamson County property. About half of those songs probably will be featured on the new album, which Paisley chose to make as raw as possible.
Doing that meant forgoing the standard use of studio musicians and highly utilized editing techniques for a method that leans more on hard work and skillmore than the latest studio technology.
ďMy opinion, lately, has been that making it better (with technology) is sometimes making it worse, because the first guy decided they could use Pro Tools and take a bass guitar and a kick drum and make that an immoveable sort of symphonic unit. Everybody else caught on really quick, and now thatís on every record,Ē Paisley says. ďNow, I turn on the radio and hear a lot of things that sound like what Iíve done already. Where do you go from here?Ē
If youíre Brad Paisley, you do what he calls ďgorillaĒ recording. You spend ďall day and all night and do whatever it takes to get it right.Ē ď
Weíre going to replay things (as) opposed to saying, ĎThatís good enough; the digital editor can fix that,íĒ he says. ďWe ask, ĎWhat can we do to this verse to make it a unique way of presenting what this song is?í
ďSo itís a big experiment. My rule for this record is to leave our comfort zone as musicians and songwriters and production-wise, themes and everything, and think outside the box. And every song should, at some moment, do to you what my dog does when I say a command he doesnít understand: His head goes sideways. And every song should have that moment in a good way.Ē
The approach also made for some uncertainty for the normally confident Paisley.
ďItís the most vulnerable Iíve ever felt,Ē he says. ďI had a very dark couple of weeks in the middle of this where I felt like, ĎWhat are we doing here? Weíve lost our minds. We should scrap this and start over with a bunch of pros on Music Row and do everything weíve normally done.í But that is not right for me right now. But I was frustrated.
ďMy wife has been one of the biggest inspirations for this. ... I was going, ĎThese arenít going to work.í My fans are going to go, ĎYouíre crazy. Weíre leaving.í And sheís like, ĎNo, they wonít.í She said, ĎListen, do you love it?í I said, ĎYeah.í She said, ĎAre you proud of it?í ĎYeah.í She said, ĎThen put it out. Who cares how it does? I couldnít have more respect for you than when you do something this daring. ... The guy that I know is fearless.íĒ
As for how Paisley feels about the album these days: ďItís the kind of album that is meant to expand my art, and I donít think itís the least bit uncommerical of a record. I just think itís different.Ē
by Cindy WattsThe Tennessean