OFFSTAGE: Brad Paisley’s Mona Lisa Moment

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When Brad Paisley was in Las Vegas for the Academy of Country Music Awards, he took some time to play his new Wheelhousealbum for a small audience. I was lucky enough to be there, to hear the songs and all the stories behind them. The one I loved the most was a tune called “The Mona Lisa,” which I thought would be about the Leonardo da Vinci painting. But it’s not. Well, not totally. “When I was growing up in West Virginia, I had never been west of the Mississippi River,” he recalled, admitting that he did go to California once in the fourth grade. “So to go from being a redneck hillbilly that looks like I belong on Duck Dynasty to someone who has done things I’ve never been allowed to do is inspiring and crazy.” For example, he talked about his first time visiting the Louvre museum in Paris. “I got to see the Mona Lisa. And I thought, ’All right, what’s the big deal?’ It’s the greatest painting in the world, but come on. She’s kind of half attractive,” he joked. “But you walk around the corner and there it is. All I kept thinking was, ’What’s the deal with that frame? How did that frame get that gig?” So the song, which Paisley wrote with Chris DuBois, is a love song of sorts. It’s about “every time I put my arms around you, I feel like the frame that gets to hold the Mona Lisa, and I don’t care if that’s all I ever do.”

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