Paisley fans might tilt-heads-to-side a bit at the track list for Brad Paisley’s upcoming Wheelhouse album. The squeaky-clean country star has included eye-opening song titles such as “Accidental Racist” and “Those Crazy Christians” on his eighth studio album, along with “Death of a Married Man” and “Death of a Single Man.” Just what are these new songs about? The answers prove Brad is pushing the envelope and thinking out of the box.
“Accidental Racist” addresses the detrimental stamp that slavery put on our nation’s history. Brad’s buddy, LL Cool J collaborates on the track, adding lyrics about racial harmony. “Brad’s not afraid to express himself,” the legendary rapper tells Parade magazine in a feature article on Wheelhouse. “What other country artist, or any artist right now, talks about slavery?”
Brad, a faithful churchgoer, born and raised a Southern Baptist, labels “Those Crazy Christians” as a gospel song and proclaims it “the most important” religious tune he’s ever recorded. “I wrote it shortly after my cousin-in-law passed away in 2011. He was young, and he fought against a debilitating disease. There weren’t five minutes of intensive care that there weren’t at least two church members at the hospital, and I remember thinking, what makes people take shifts for somebody they haven’t known very long? Well, it’s belief,” he tells Parade. “To play the part of the skeptic is a much more powerful argument to me — in favor of [belief] as well as looking at things that are baffling. My most devout friends love it and so do my agnostic ones, but for very different reasons.”
Brad has called Wheelhouse his most experimental project yet, both lyrically and sonically, which is always a risk for a superstar of his caliber who has gained a huge following through his traditional country-leaning catalog. Still, he’s confident his fans are growing with him.
“Maybe I’m naive, but I give them a lot of credit for having been with me a long time and knowing me really well. So it’s not like with one album I’m a whole new guy. I’ve had a great career, and if I don’t have one after this … [laughs] … then so be it.”
As for those two other songs mentioned above … Wheelhouse hits stores April 9, which is when we’ll all find out how both the bachelor and the husband bit the dust.
Brad’s Parade cover story is in the magazine’s March 24 issue.