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Brad Paisley

Hits Alive – 2010 (Arista Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley's new live hits CD is a bit of a tease. That's because it only goes half way in replicating the true live Paisley experience. Watching the accompanying concert videos at a Paisley show, whether the venue screen is showing Andy Griffith during Waitin' on a Woman or the montage of recently-deceased celebrities that accompanies When I Get Where I'm Going, reveal how Paisley simply must be seen to be fully enjoyed.

Nevertheless, Paisley in concert and captured on disc helps solidify his standing as one of country music's true guitar heroes. Just listen to the way he shreds on the instrumental Time Warp. He doesn't just work it out on instrumentals, however. He also squeezes out tasty licks on almost every song in the set, and this practice makes these recent live recordings at least a little different from their more familiar studio versions. Furthermore, something like Alcohol deserves a concert audience - mainly because the ones singing along with Paisley are right at that moment feeling the inebriating effects of said beverage.

All of Paisley's many lyrical sides are touched upon during this two-disc set (one disc is studio recordings). There's his devoted, husbandly characteristic, The World, his self-deprecating sense of humor (I'm Still A Guy), and his smart and funny critique of pop culture (Celebrity). The music world has been shaken up mightily by illegal downloading of late. So much so, in fact, most everybody experiences music online these days. But in contrast to the pitiful character in Online, who may well be so much cooler online, such is not the case with Brad Paisley. Oh no, Paisley is so much cooler when live.