Brad Paisley

It was the Beatles who once showed, with a much louder drummer, that the shortest distance between a clever line and a catharsis for all time is a tender melody gone falsetto. With his own little team, Brad Paisley achieves the same thing on "Everybody's Here," a song about being heartbroken and alienated in the bar crowd ("everybody's here but me"). When he tackles a subject requiring a few more narrative beats, like why Obama's election victory was bigger than Obama or even politics, he's just as relaxed and funny, knowing he can't distill the feeling into one hook. So he lets the spaciousness between words on "Welcome to the Future" speak volumes even as the narrative builds and catches you up. (The song is about how things have changed for the better: Remember that?) This isn't cleverness powered by optimism; it's genius times love. And the fact that all this unfolds in an entirely meat-and-potatoes country milieu on Paisley's seventh and breakthrough album, American Saturday Night, is either a gift to K102 fans or a potential entry point for everyone else. With Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore. All ages. (Photo by Kurt Markus)
Sat., Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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