(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Every once in a while, an album brings me so much joy that I can't get enough of it. Brad Paisley's new one, This Is Country Music, to be released Monday (May 23), is such an album. From the first note to the last, it's everything country should be. Paisley rhymes "corsage" with "garage" just as effortlessly as he sings a duet with Carrie Underwood that will hit so many couples so close to home. And when all that happens, I want to know everything about the album. So I turn to the liner notes and see if I have what I call Liner-Note Love -- when I'm as crazy about the words that go into the little piece of paper inside the CD as I am about the words in the songs. On this one, Paisley opted out of thanking all the people who literally influenced this album and talks instead about the ones who inspired it. "See, country music is unique. It is brave. It is not afraid to deal head-on with subjects like disease, death, religion, drinking, family or anything else that qualifies as life. It isn't above its fans. It is about them," he says. "It is the soundtrack to my life and probably yours." He adds that he's proud to be in this genre even though it doesn't always get the respect it deserves. And he ends his gratitude with another shout out to the fans. "Every style of music thinks it has the best fans in the whole world," says Paisley. "But this is country music. And we do."