Country shred, double-stop licks, and G-bender pulls salvage Paisley''s most pop-sounding album to date.

Brad Paisley
Wheelhouse
Arista Nashville

There are a few things you can count on with every new Brad Paisley album: great tone, somewhat shtick-y lyrics, and the most stone-cold country shred this side of Hank Garland. That being said, Paisley’s albums sometimes seem burdened by heavy-handed production. With Wheelhouse, Paisley continues to take chances and push modern country away from the auto-tuned sing-alongs with a simple twist of his G-bender.

Released nearly six months before the album release, “Southern Comfort Zone” is a nostalgic look at life below the Mason-Dixon line. Paisley throws in just enough EL84-powered twang and Stones-inspired double stops to keep the guitar nerd’s eyes from glazing over. The melding of country-rock riffing and programmed drum beats on the intro to “Outstanding in Our Field” shows that Paisley isn’t afraid to push buttons (literally) when it comes to a perceived “innovation” in country music. Don’t get me wrong, I love innovation as much as the next 6-stringer, but there is a fine line between a true visionary and an artist who’s never heard the word “no.” Wheelhouse is Paisley’s most pop-sounding album to date, and with that, makes me wonder how long it will be before that vitamin that you stick in the cupcake disappears completely. —Jason Shadrick

Must-hear tracks: "Southern Comfort Zone," "Onryo"


"Southern Comfort Zone" from Wheelhouse

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less

Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

Read More Show less

A series of affordable true-bypass pedals designed to compliment each other.

Read More Show less
x