Brad Paisley's much-awaited sophomore album and Mary Chapin Carpenter's seventh studio CD are this week's major country music releases.
Paisley, widely heralded
as a young champion of traditional country music, has vaulted to stardom since releasing his debut, Who Needs Pictures,
in 1999. The album, which yielded the No. 1 hits "We Danced" and "He Didn't Have to Be," is now platinum,
and Paisley has since racked up CMA and ACM awards, a Grammy nomination and membership in the Grand Ole Opry.
album, Part II, on Arista Nashville was intended to be a continuation of Who Needs Pictures, Paisley has said,
and in fact the fiddle fade-out at the end of Pictures is reprised as a fade-in on the new album's first song, "Two
Feet of Topsoil."
Paisley wrote all but three of the album's cuts, covering three songs that he frequently performs.
Darrell Scott's "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" is a chronicle of coal miners' lives in Kentucky, near Paisley's
native West Virginia, and "Too Country," written by veterans Bill Anderson
and Chuck Cannon, is an incredulous response to a view held in some country circles. Finally, Paisley ends the album with
his live rendition of "The Old Rugged Cross," recorded at the Opry the night he was invited to become a member.
full title of Carpenter's Columbia Records album is Time Is the Great Gift; Sex Is the Great Equalizer; Love Is the Great
Mystery -- which she has shortened to Time*Sex*Love. She recorded it at Air Studios in London in November 2000
with production by Carpenter, Blake Chancey and her guitarist, John Jennings.
Carpenter wrote nine of the album's 14
cuts and co-wrote the others with collaborators Jennings, Gary Burr and Kim Richey.
The songs, Carpenter has said, are primarily about time, sex and love; hence the album title.
There are two album reissues
this week, both by Kenny Rogers. The 1984 album Duets was recorded with the
late Dottie West, Kim Carnes and Sheena Easton. The Gambler, recorded in 1978,
won the CMA album of the year award in 1979.