Brad Paisley Talks ‘Love and War': ‘This Never Should Have Worked’
Brad Paisley released his 11th studio album, Love and War, on April 21, but on Friday (April 28), the country star is making a special album edition available via Apple Music. The 16-track record is country music's first visual album and features a number of special guests: Bill Anderson, Mick Jagger, Timbaland and John Fogerty, all of whom also appear in the songs' accompanying music videos.
Paisley started Love and War in 2015, and took a full 18 months to complete the project. The end result, he says, was more than worth the endless hours and sleepless nights required.
"I started getting this idea to create an entire feature-length movie around the songs in this album because each of these songs is very important to me," Paisley shared at a private screening of Love and War. Skepticism from his record label furthered his desire to undertake a visual album project, "and they have no idea how right they were," the West Virginia native adds, "because this should have never worked. We did a lot of this in the last month."
The 16 music videos for Love and War's 16 songs together make one cohesive movie, broken up into five chapters. In addition to the tender video for "Today," which shows military families being reunited, marriage proposals and an onstage baby gender reveal, Paisley also aimed to inspire with his clip for "The Devil Is Alive and Well." That video was filmed in the remains of a Nashville church that was destroyed by a fire.
"Is there any better way to represent that?" Paisley recalls someone asking him. "I said, ‘No, there’s isn’t’ ... so we ask if we can film in front of it. We’re standing there, and they tell me as I’m standing there -- I just figured it as an electrical fire -- but they tell me it was under arson investigation, which is even worse."
Not all is serious in Love and War, however; Paisley also shows off his funny side. For the video for his current single, "Last Time for Everything," Paisley invited actor David Hasselhoff to make a cameo, and to bring along the famous KITT car from the 1980s TV show Knight Rider. The clip also stars Paisley's wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (dressed as a 12-year-old girl), and while it might be one of the funniest videos in the Love and War visual album, its message is, for Paisley, entirely serious.
"I’ve got two little boys. Somebody said, ‘Can you still hold your oldest?’ I said, ‘No. He’s too big.’ They said, ‘When was the last time you held him?’ and I didn’t remember. There was just a point when you didn’t pick him up any more because it hurt your back," Paisley recalls. "And that song is -- daily, I’m realizing stuff that it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s it for that.’"
10 Must-Hear Country Concept Albums
Also a contender for Love and War's funniest track is "One Beer Can," which features a raucous high school party, complete with a donkey walking through the house and the unceremonious spilling of an urn of Grandma's ashes. That house is Paisley's parents' actual home -- and his mother even makes an unexpected appearance.
"It’s the first time I’ve ever thrown a party," Paisley shares. "We took that jacka-- and walked it through there, and if you freeze frame it at the right spot, my mother’s in the background like this," he says with a laugh, mimicking his mother with her mouth wide open.
Although "Solar Power Girl" -- co-written by and featuring Timbaland -- seems to be a light song at first, it's one of Love and War's more motivational pieces. A personal struggle, followed by redemption, inspired the track.
"That song is written about a girl who comes from a really bad situation and finds her way out," Paisley explains. "I love that song and what it says. I had a story in my mind of a little girl who lived that, so it’s nice to see it on the screen."
The song's accompanying music video is comic-esque, first in black and white and then in color. Paisley received a little bit of help from the crew of South Park to bring it together.
"I have good friends over there. They’re fast," he shares. "I said, ‘I’ve got some drawings, but if you guys could bring this to life ...'"
Love and War also features songs such as "Heaven South," "#selfie#theinternetisforever," "Love and War" with Fogerty and "Gold All Over the Ground," inspired by a poem written by Johnny Cash. The record is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.
See Pics From Brad Paisley's Love and War Release Concert at Tootsie's
You Think You Know Brad Paisley?