The Voice may be TV's runaway hit of the season, but that doesn’t mean Brad Paisley, 38, is intent on judging vocal talent like his pal Blake Shelton does on The Voice. Why not? Paisley, whose ninth CD, This Is Country Music, just hit stores yesterday, shares his thoughts with Us about the hot show, his sons Huck, 4, and Jasper, 2, with wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley, 39 and his marital advice for another close friend, Carrie Underwood.
US: How does this album compare to the last album?
BP: The last album was a very personal group of songs that were about my life and my take on the world. It was my opinion, my thoughts, my observations and my personal stories. This album is mostly stories. A lot of opening lines on this album start with 'she,' and 'they,' and 'I saw,' as opposed to the last album where the songs began with 'I remember,' and 'when I was.' One song is about the story of a girl who loves old Alabama music. There are songs about a guy losing his job, and there are songs about having to drink somebody off your mind. For the theme of the album I wanted to explore country music. The first song, 'This is Country Music,' states that, 'this is real; this is your life in a song.'
US: Are there any moments on the CD where you can laugh out loud from the funny stories you sing about?
BP: One of the funnier songs is a song called "Camouflage," which explores the pattern and all it's come to represent. It's the new rebel flag. Camouflage is only effective in rural areas. If someone in New York City is wearing it, they're making a statement, they're not trying to blend in, and they're defeating the purpose of the fabric. One of my favorite lines in the song is about how the only thing as patriotic as the old red, white, and blues are green, and grey, and black, and tan, and brown mixed to make camouflage. I feel the funniest verse of the song is about the rednecks that wear it to prom. There's a song called 'Toothbrush,' which is through the eyes of a guy with a child. In it, he realizes you begin and end your day with that toothbrush.
US: You were really affected by the Nashville Flood, and even named your last tour the Wet Tour. Will we see any of that on the album?
BP: No. Only some people are aware of what this town went through. I was definitely influenced by it. I ended up with new guitars because I had to replace a lot of things. I took the little insurance money for lost instruments and bought an old Martins, which aided in the creative process and were byproducts of the flood. The experience tailored my perspective. The writing process really comes from that larger scope of things as opposed to things that just happened probably here in Nashville.
US: What happened to the CW network show you were going to do with Zach Quinto and Neil Dodson?
BP: That has morphed into something else. We're working on a project for another network. You know how networks are...they'll say, well what if you did this with it, or that with it. I think something is going to wind up on the air eventually.
US: How are your two boys doing?
BP: They are two and four, which is the perfect age gap. They get along well. They are now to the place where they like similar things. Since I was an only child, I'm envious of both of them for having each other. There are little fights. My money is always on the littlest one, Jasper. He is the one that hits the door with his head and keeps walking, as opposed to his brother who hits the door with his head and then you have to console him for the next fifteen minutes.
US: Are they budding musicians or budding actors, like your wife?
BP: I can't tell yet. We're not pushing them towards anything. At this age, if they are pursuing something, they're either a true child prodigy or they're getting pushed there. They can find what they want to do in life. They go off to swim lessons and karate and so we'll see what sticks. They really like music but that doesn't mean anything.
US: How do you like hosting the Country Music Association Awards with Carrie Underwood?
BP: Carrie and I have a duet on this new album. We are really good friends and get along fantastic. There is not a finer singer or person in our industry. She's got such class. Award shows can be long, they're high pressure and they're tedious and boring if they're not done correctly. I like the creative aspect of it.
US: So have you been able to give Carrie any marital advice?
BP: We've had small conversations. I think the biggest advice I can give somebody is to pick the right person; but that's not going to help somebody who is already married. In the end you're either compatible or you're not. Her and Mike seem great and 100% compatible. I think they're going to be absolutely fine.
US: Do you ever go on double dates around Nashville?
BP: I've taken Mike out to lunch a few times when he was playing hockey in Ottawa. He stays home a lot while she's on the road. She's invited us to a few playoff games.
US: Do you think they're going to have kids soon and if so, any parenting advice?
BP: I don't have any idea, its personal. I only know bad parenting when I see it. You can't judge, you know, you could do everything right and the kid still ends up being Charlie Sheen.
US: Your buddy Blake Shelton has been on The Voice and he's hilarious. Have you thought of doing a show like The Voice?
BP: I haven't actually seen The Voice but I would never do it. I would probably hate it. I'm not cut out for that since I don't enjoy making commentary and I don't enjoy the process of evaluating other singers. I cringe when I hear a bad singer. I was one of those people at one point and sometimes still am. I'm just not comfortable doing it. Compared to Blake, I am more afraid to say what I think.
US: Are you looking forward to going back on tour?
BP: Right now we're just getting ready to get back out there. It's always when we begin to set the whole thing up and I see it assembled in rehearsal that I think to myself, how on earth are we going to get this done in time? It's going to be a disaster the first night. I make a fool out of myself for a living and film all this goofy background footage. I did a song on the new album that's a surf type tune and we just go up to my round pen, which has a big floor of sand and we wear button down striped shirts and khaki pants with our hair slicked back. We look absolutely stupid.
US: Your videos are hilarious, especially the one with Taylor Swift.
BP: I didn't realize, until I got a tweet from somebody, that when it ends, it says 'winner' over Jimmy Dickens and it's flashing 'loser' over Taylor. Somebody took a picture of just me singing with Taylor's picture with 'loser' above it. If you catch it at the right time, I look like I'm Kanye.
US: How do you always stay in great shape?
BP: Were religious about our eating habits on the road. We carry a gym in the semi and set it up everyday. The venues I play, all have large concourses where you can easily run two miles. Almost everyday I run a couple of miles and do weights. The biggest workout is the show because I've got an eight-pound guitar and I am running around. I don't know how many calories I burn but I bet more than my workouts. As for dieting, I'll give up sweets. I'm not hardcore. I'm getting to the point where I have to give up certain things or I find my jeans get tighter. I think that's where people get into trouble; they will just buy new jeans.