Following a successful tour with Terri Clark and Reba McEntire in 2005, Brad Paisley released his fourth album, Time Well Wasted, which in addition to producing three more #1 hit singles, was named Album of the Year by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music in 2006. It follows the same winning formula of combining traditional country music and comedy that made Mud On The Tires a commercial success. It also features some marquis name guest artists such as Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Bill Anderson and Little Jimmy Dickens. Like its predecessors, Time Well Wasted was produced by Fred Rogers, with Chris DuBois acting as executive producer.
The advance single was Brad’s own composition “Alcohol”. Once a staple at country radio, drinking songs have more or less fallen victim to the political correctness movement, and there was indeed a backlash against this party anthem for what critics claimed glamorized alcohol abuse. Most people, however, just viewed the song for what it was: a tongue-in-cheek party tune. The minor controversy did little to impede the record’s success on the charts. It reached #4 and also earned gold certification for digital sales exceeding 500,000 downloads.
Brad’s 2003 marriage to Kimberly Williams has been the apparent inspiration for a number of his songs that revolve around the theme of domestic bliss. There a few such offerings here, both humorous — “The World” — and serious — “Waitin’ On A Woman”, “She’s Everything”, and “Rainin’ You”. Both “The World” and “She’s Everything” reached #1, as did a re-recorded version of “Waitin’ On A Woman” when it was eventually released as part of Brad’s next two albums 5th Gear and the mostly instrumental Play. Brad’s vocal limitations are apparent on the album cut “Rainin’ You”, and to a lesser extent on “She’s Everything”, one of Paisley’s least traditional sounding singles to date. It was, however, the most successful single from the album, earning platinum certification for more than one million digital sales.
Even the happiest relationships have their rough patches, as we see in the tracks “I’ll Take You Back”, which is sort of an opposite-sex point of view version of Sara Evans’ “Cheatin'”, and the cleverly written “Flowers” in which Brad is an erring husband or boyfriend trying to make amends by repeatedly sending his wife or girlfriend roses, which are immediately trashed upon receipt, prompting the question:
” … How many flowers have to die
Before you give this love another try?
I’ve asked you to forgive me at least nine dozen times,
Tell me, how many flowers have to die?”
Paisley is joined by labelmate Alan Jackson for a rendition of Guy Clark and Darrell Scott’s “Out In The Parking Lot”, which finds the protagonists avoiding a cover charge at a club by drinking “Old Crow Whiskey and hot 7-Up” in their truck. The lyrics are a bit lightweight, but it’s a fun song and the two sound good together.
Dolly Parton joins Brad for the masterpiece “When I Get Where I’m Goin'”, the highlight of the album. The spiritually-themed song was released as the album’s second single. Perhaps they were seeking redemption following the release of “Alcohol”, but whatever the reason, the result was the finest single release of Brad’s career. It’s often labeled a duet, but technically it is not; Parton serves strictly in a secondary role proving harmony vocals, but because it was a credited performance, she gained some bragging rights when the record hit #1 in March 2006, making her the oldest female performer (at age 60) to ever top the Billboard country singles chart. Like its predecessor “Alcohol”, “When I Get Where I’m Going” earned gold certification.
The final musical track on the album is the title track, on which Brad once again sings about another one his passions — fishing. This is followed by the comedy sketch “Cornography” featuring Dolly Parton and The Kung Pao Buckeroos (Bill Anderson, George Jones, and Little Jimmy Dickens), in a follow-up to a similar sketch from Mud On The Tires. The sketch is followed by a number of hidden outtake tracks. These routines are mildly amusing but they do tend to wear thin with repeated listenings. Luckily they are placed at the end of the album where they can be easily skipped.
Brad is credited as a writer or co-writer on nine of the album’s fifteen music tracks. The wise decision to include some submissions from outside songwriters, makes Time Well Wasted a stronger collection than some of Brad’s other albums. It reached #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and sold in excess of two million copies. It remains my favorite album in the Paisley catalog.
Time Well Wasted is readily available from online merchants such as Amazon and iTunes.