OFFSTAGE: Brad Paisley on the Brilliance and Ambiguity of Pop

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I have a one-track mind about music. And that one track is playing country, over and over. But I know guys like Brad Paisley are more open-minded than that. So last weekend, when I caught up with him after his ACM Awards rehearsal, we talked about what makes both big genres — country and pop – -so likable. “What I love about a great pop song is that what I think it means may not be what someone else thinks it means,” he said. “It’s a marriage of a lot of different things — the brilliance of maybe a certain lyric, but also the ambiguity of a verse.” As for country music, “The thing that makes a country song great is absolute relatability of a story, being real life and telling a story. There’s nothing like a country song that’s crafted in its own way, like a little novel. Which they are.” Paisley also admitted the whole pop vs. country discussion is how he came up with his own hit song a couple years ago. “There are different things that make different types of songs great,” he said. “That’s exactly what brought on ‘This Is Country Music.’

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.