Single Review: Brad Paisley featuring Alabama – ‘Old Alabama’
March 31, 2011
Posted by on
While I’ve generally liked more of Brad Paisley’s music than I’ve disliked, I’m hardly what can be considered one of his superfans. Nevertheless, I’ve often defended him against hypercriticism in the blogosphere, and I’ve found myself in that position once again with the release of his latest single. “Old Alabama” isn’t a masterpiece that will profoundly change the musical landscape, but it doesn’t deserve the kind of derision it has received from some quarters. Clearly it was never meant to be anything more than a tribute to a bygone era and one its most commercially successful acts. This isn’t a record that lends itself to overanalysis; it just is what it is.
I’ve never been a huge Alabama fan but I have enjoyed a number of their songs, many of which happen to be the ones Paisley name checks. Fans who are too young to remember country music’s original supergroup in their heyday may have difficulty relating to the record, but it is sure to strike a chord with folks from Paisley’s — and my — generation, especially when the boys from Fort Payne themselves chime in for a few lines of Mountain Music”, one of their best songs. For a genre that is supposedly rooted in tradition, country music tends to underappreciate many of its legends, so it’s nice to hear a mainstream song that not only pays homage to a landmark act, but also serves as a nostalgic reminder of how country radio used to sound. Alabama was never the standard-bearer for traditional country music, but even their most slickly-produced records were rarely bland. In an age where the mainstream actively courts the Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus generation, it’s nice to hear a record that’s meant for us Generation Xers for a change. And for that, I say to Mr. Paisley, well done, sir.