New Titan on the Block

American Saturday Night – Brad Paisley
Reigning ACM and CMA Male Vocalist champ and three-time Grammy winner Brad Paisley’s new album is his eighth release. The CD’s first single, “Then,” recently rose to No. 1, Paisley’s tenth consecutive chart-topper – extending a streak already unmatched by any other country artist in the 19-year history of Nielsen-monitored airplay.

Paisley now stands in rare company, joining such chart titans as Alabama, George Strait, Ronnie Milsap, Earl Thomas Conley, Sonny James, Conway Twitty and Paisley hero Buck Owens as the only country acts in Billboard history ever to achieve 10 or more consecutive chart-toppers. The West Virginian has now amassed a total 14 career No. 1 singles with album sales in excess of 10 million units, including his two-time Platinum 2005 ACM and CMA Album of the Year, Time Well Wasted.

American Saturday Night reunites Paisley with longtime producer Frank Rogers, who’s been with him since his million-selling debut, Who Needs Pictures. Their 2009 effort contains 15 stellar tracks, including the title track, “Water,” “Catch All the Fish” and “Back to the Future.” And like his past efforts, this new dandy showcases Paisley’s amazing voice, songwriting skill and playing ability. “I have two voices,” he says. “One is as somebody who conveys the lyric of a song.” The other voice springs from his fingers “as a guitar player,” he adds.
Grade: A+

Willie & The Wheel – Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
If national newspapers like the Washington Post are declaring “one of the first great albums of 2009,” then it must be good. This one has been dubbed as such, or the paper has a sarcastic sense of humor. The concept album was the brainchild of legendary producer Jerry Wexler, who passed away last August. It pairs Texas icons Willie Nelson with Asleep at the Wheel, led by Ray Benson. You’ll hear Western Swing at its finest on such cuts as “Corrine Corrina,” “Won’t You Ride in My Little Red Wagon” and “Bring It On Down to My House.”

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“Jerry [Wexler] wanted us to do this album, and I’m glad we got to do it for him and that he heard it before he passed on,” Nelson said.
Grade: B+

El Ni

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