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Album Review: Brad Paisley – Moonshine In The Trunk

3 min read

Country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley’s new album Moonshine in the Trunk is a country-rock genre hybrid that will challenge everything you think you know about country music.

Brad-Paisley-Moonshine-in-the-Trunk-e1403125580870On a personal level, Paisley’s new album was the first kind of authentic “country” music I’d listened to that wasn’t a Billy Rae Cyrus parody or Steps’ hit single 5,6,7,8.

While a good chunk of this album is dedicated to songs suited to Friday night in a barnyard (excuse all the stereotypes), I was pleasantly surprised by Paisley’s album. Buried throughout the album are incredible guitar solos and moments reminiscent of that 80’s Bruce Springsteen-eque rock your parents love which are enough to foster an appreciation for Paisely’s work even if you’re entirely unfamiliar with his genre.

Crushin’ It encapsulates the albums blend of classic rock with what you’d expect country music to sound like. The song opens with an acoustic guitar solo that would be impossible to play on guitar hero, a walking-paced drum beat and block guitar chords that are eventually glazed by Paisley’s vocals. It’s the twang of Paisley’s southern American accent that hints at Paisley’s country roots – testified by the uncanny inclusion of a fiddle during the song’s instrumental. Similarly, River Bank harbors the same, simplistic and generic make-up as songs by kid’s bands

Moonshine in the Trunk and Limes are other songs on the albums perfect for the countryside equivalent of a warehouse rave (a barn-house rave?). Both open with impressive, bad-ass electric guitar solo’s which carry the gritty adrenaline of an 80s hard rock song throughout the rest of the song. Moonshine in the Trunk is dominated by a n epic musical battle between an electric guitar and a hyperactive fiddle over which instrument can sound the most impressive. The efforts of both instruments is enough to evoke a degree of appreciation from even the most biased, anti-country music listener. It is these incredible instrumental interludes that save songs such as Cover Girl and 4WP from sounding entirely like ever other song on the album. 

Shattered Glass and Perfect Storm would definitely be the perfect songs to play during the wind-down of any barnyard party. Perfect Storm is introduced by a synth-produced wave that crashes in an expected heap of guitars and slow paced drumming which would prompt any couple to begin slow-dancing.  The piano tinkling that opens Shattered Glass, coupled with a reverberating synth effect has the capacity to incite longing for a hazy Sunday afternoon in the country. The murmurs of the piano become chunky piano chords, fitting in with Paisley’s fetish for simplistic, super-generic sounding harmonies.

Songs laden with patriotic sentiment give Moonshine in the Trunk a sense of contrast. JFK 1962– a subdued electric guitar instrumental overlays a recording of a speech by the former American President gives listeners a break from all the unoriginal expectedness which permeates the rest of the album.

Paisely’s new album (I assume) will be celebrated by cowboys and dedicated fans of the country music genre. Despite it’s occasional lack of originality, Moonshine in the Trunk’s merit lies in it’s spurts of energetic instrumentals, which induce a curiosity about what life actually is like in the American countryside.