Brad Paisley Album Tackles Racism

PAISLEY GETS POLITICAL: Lots of chatter from Country fans about Brad Paisley’s new Arista Nashville album, Wheelhouse, which streets today amid much controversy over a series of songs that questions the South’s attitude towards racism. On “Accidental Racist,” Paisley sings from the point of view of a guy who walks into a Starbucks sporting a Confederate flag T-shirt “caught between Southern pride and Southern blame” and continues with guest rapper LL Cool J telling how he feels about it. In other songs, like “Southern Comfort Zone” and “Those Crazy Christians,” a song of faith sung by a disgruntled cynic, Paisley has challenged the beliefs of his target demo, and has been raked over the coals on the Internet for it. On the album closer, “Officially Alive,” he sings: “So you ruffled some feathers, yeah, you’ve done it now/Turned the tables in the temple clean upside down/You’re out on a ledge.” It remains to be seen how his edgy politics will affect album and tour sales, as they did for the Dixie Chicks in Natalie Maines’ memorable row with the Bush administration several years ago. (4/9a)

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