Been quite awhile since we’ve gotten new music from Brad Paisley.

The early-2000s superstar hasn’t released a full-length album since Love and War in 2017, and hasn’t even really had a hit single since “Today” back in 2016.

Brad had some amazing songs back in the day: He was one of the biggest names in country music (and one of my favorites) back in the late ’90s all the way through 2011 or so.

Of course Brad has always been known for his humorous songs, with hits like “I’m Going to Miss Her (The Fishing Song)” and “Alcohol” propelling his early career.

But somewhere along the way Brad started leaning more and more into these corny, novelty songs and lost his stranglehold on the country charts – and sort of became irrelevant, other than his yearly appearances on the awards shows and at Nashville’s yearly Fourth of July or New Years concerts.

(And of course who can forget “Accidental Racist,” his spectacular attempt to address racism in a duet with LL Cool J that turned out to be accidentally racist itself and seemed to kick off his descent?)

Well earlier this week Brad announced he has a new record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville imprint EMI Records Nashville. It’s a move that reunites Brad with UMG Nashville CEO Mike Dungan and President Cindy Mabe, who both worked with Brad during his early success at Arista Records.

So naturally, that led to the thought: Could Brad shake the cheesy perception that he’s built over the last decade or so and recapture some of that magic that he had back in the earlier days of his career with songs like “Mud on the Tires,” “Letter to Me,” “She’s Everything” and one of my personal favorites, “We Danced?”

Well, we may have our answer from Brad’s first single which features…Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

So much for not going the cheesy route I guess.

According to Brad, the new single, “Same Here,” is about recognizing the similarities in values between people of different cultures all across the world:

“There’s just no differences. You can put us in different places with different flags and different languages, but we have so many similarities.”

Released on the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and co-written by Brad along with Lee Thomas Miller and Taylor Goldsmith, the song doesn’t specifically mention the war in Ukraine but features a conversation between the West Virginia native and the Ukrainian president, recorded during a video call, talking about Ukrainians’ desire for freedom:

“We speak different languages in our life, yes, but I think we appreciate the same things: Children, freedom, our flag, our soldiers, our people, the biggest treasure we have, and friends. And we’re proud of our army who defends our freedom and will defend our lives.”

Along with the song, Brad is also a celebrity ambassador for Ukraine’s United24 fundraising campaign, and all of the royalties from the song will be donated to help build housing for Ukrainians who have been displaced by the ongoing war with Russia.

It’s a cool song and message, especially given the significance of featuring a figure like Zelenskyy, who Brad said was instrumental in its production and even suggested his own changes to the song.

Honestly, from pretty much anybody else in country music, a song like this would feel like pandering and just trying to get some quick hits. But from a guy like Brad, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s genuine.

And let’s be honest: It’s sure to get more attention than pretty much anything he’s released in the last few years.

But it seems like Brad’s going to keep trying to making statements with his music rather than going back to the kind of songs that had him at the top of the charts when he was at the peak of his career.

Although I’ll give him credit, at least this one’s a hell of a lot better than “Accidental Racist.”


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