Brad Paisley @ Cricket Pavilion

You may not call yourself a fan of country music, but if you've lived in Arizona for more than a couple of years, chances are you find at least some aspect of it endearing. Then again, maybe not. But for a greenhorn aspiring to develop an appreciation for this part of our popular music universe, the overuse of tired and clichéd metaphors for life's problems can be one of the hardest things to overcome. Thankfully, one Brad Paisley's best traits — matched by his masterful playing and highly recognizable guitar sound — is his ability to reinvent country music's lazy little analogies. He writes in such a way that makes listeners give his song the aural version of a double take. For example, in country music, women and cars are often set as bars for comparison of life's ups, and their loss often foreshadows the onset of depression and existential conundrums. Paisley twists the whole notion around, using lyrics like, "She's a Saturn with a sunroof," and creates an upside-down, humorous tone that redefines beauty and happiness. It's this that gives him mass appeal and at the same time makes him unique in a game where almost everything has already been done.

 
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