Few artists in country music can combine the magic of pop culture with the rhythm and roots of what makes the genre great. Brad Paisley is the exception. Paisley recently closed the first leg of his Crushin’ It Tour at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach Oct. 3. This was my sixth time seeing Paisley live and his show never disappoints. Paisley pulled from his extensive catalog of hits including “Water,” “Celebrity,” “Beat This Summer,” “Perfect Storm,” “Ticks” and “Old Alabama.” Newcomer Mickey Guyton shined on her “Whiskey Lullaby” duet with Paisley. The angelic-voiced 32-year-old singer also opened for Paisley on this tour alongside Justin Moore, who revealed he just bought a home in Florida.
Here are 5 reasons Paisley is currently country music’s most valuable asset:
1. He is socially aware. Paisley is on top of national news trends as well as cultural issues. His 2009 album, American Saturday Night, was a love letter to the magical melting pot of America’s culture. He is erasing stereotypes in country music one lyric at a time with songs such as “Southern Comfort Zone” and “Accidental Racist,” where he addresses the controversy of the confederate flag, its different meanings and how leaving one’s comfort zone is the only way to grow and experience the world.
2. He’s a techie. Brad has been creating his own animation videos for concerts for years and doesn’t miss the chance to try out a new way to deliver a song. In lieu of a Carrie Underwood hologram he used for previous tours, he now sets up his duet on the road of “Remind Me” with Carrie as a FaceTime call on the big screen behind him. On the Crushin’ It Tour, Paisley also introduced a segment of the show where he invites a fan to come on stage to play Mario Kart. “This is what happens when a bunch of rednecks get a 60 foot television screen,” Paisley joked at the West Palm beach show. He’s also known to take selfies with fans in the middle of song or grab their cell phone or video camera to records some once in a lifetime videos on.
3. He’s not afraid to break new artists. Paisley always tours with special guests and typically invites these guys to perform a song or two with him during his own set. Paisley has toured with everyone from Taylor Swift and Easton Corbin to Guyton, who rocked Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre Oct. 3.
4. He doesn’t forget where he comes from. For every concert, Paisley always makes a point to travel to the back of the venue to play for the people in back where he said once sat for concerts.
5. He can really play guitar and he never holds back at live shows. While many famous musical artists who are mainly vocalists who use a guitar as a mere prop they occasionally strum melodies on, Paisley really plays his fleet of Fender Telecasters. He’ll throw in random riffs from “Foxy Lady” or “Hot For Teacher” and always uses a bottle of beer to play slide guitar on his usual closing song, “Alcohol.”
The Crushin’ It World tour picks up again Jan. 21, 2016 in Arkansas.