Play (Brad Paisley album)

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Studio album by Brad Paisley
Released November 4, 2008 (2008-11-04)
Genre Country
Length 62:06
Label Arista Nashville
Producer Frank Rogers
Brad Paisley chronology
5th Gear
Playlist: The Very Best of Brad Paisley
Singles from Play
  1. "Start a Band"
    Released: September 15, 2008
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (70/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Billboard (favorable)[3]
Blender 3/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B-[4]
Hartford Courant (favorable)[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[6]
Mojo 3/5 stars[1]
Slant 4/5 stars[7]
Uncut 2/5 stars[1]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[8]
The Village Voice (positive)[9]

Play, also known as Play: The Guitar Album, is the sixth studio album by American country music artist Brad Paisley. It was released on November 4, 2008 (see 2008 in country music). Like all of his previous albums, Play was released on Arista Nashville and produced by Frank Rogers. The album is largely instrumental in nature, except for five vocal tracks. One of these tracks, "Start a Band" (a duet with Keith Urban), has been released as a single and has become Paisley's ninth consecutive Number One country hit, and his thirteenth overall. The album cover photograph was taken at Bristow Run Elementary School [10] in Bristow, Virginia.


Play is largely an album of instrumentals, though Paisley sings five duets with other vocalists, including B.B. King, Buck Owens, and Keith Urban.[11][12] King and Urban both play guitar on their respective duet tracks. Another track, "Cluster Pluck", features James Burton, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, John Jorgenson, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert and Steve Wariner.[11] The Buck Owens duet is a song which Owens co-wrote.[13] It is not strictly a country music record, featuring jazz guitar and a song described by Paisley as "very heavy metal."[14] The final track, "Waitin' on a Woman", was first included on Paisley's 2005 album Time Well Wasted, and was later re-recorded as a bonus track to 2007's 5th Gear, from which it was released as a single. The version featured here includes guest vocals from Andy Griffith, and is the version used in the song's music video.

"Start a Band", the only single from the album, was released in September 2008. It is a collaboration with Keith Urban, who sings duet vocals and plays second lead guitar on it, and it reached Number One on the Billboard country singles charts in January 2009. At the 51st Grammy Awards, "Cluster Pluck" won the Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance, which was awarded to all of the guitarists featured.[15]


The album so far has a score of 70 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "generally favorable reviews".[1] Chris Neal of Country Weekly magazine gave Play four stars out of five, calling it "as indispensable as any album Brad has recorded to date—not to mention one of his best", also noting the "sharp melodies and constantly shifting musical terrain".[16] Play received three-and-a-half stars out of five from Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who referred to most songs as "fall[ing] within the realm of the expected", but cited others as "pure '80s shred[…]revealing a side he's previously camouflaged." Erlewine also said that, like Paisley's other albums, Play was "among the most adventurous and best country music of this decade."[2] Ken Tucker of Billboard called the album "both outstanding and diverse" and made note of the Buck Owens duet, which he referred to as "bring[ing] an old friend back to life with the utmost respect."[3]

Whitney Pastorek, reviewing the album for Entertainment Weekly, gave the album a B- rating. She referred to the duets as "a welcome respite from all the noodling", but said that as a whole, the album was "an indulgence he's earned but doesn't quite pull off."[4] In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau picked out one song from the album, "Waitin' on a Woman", as a "choice cut" ((choice cut)),[17] calling it "a good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money".[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Huckleberry Jam"   Brad Paisley, Frank Rogers 2:52
2. "Turf's Up"   Paisley, Rogers 3:30
3. "Start a Band" (with Keith Urban) Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace 5:26
4. "Kim"   Paisley 3:58
5. "Departure"   Paisley, Rogers 4:28
6. "Come On In" (featuring Buck Owens) Buck Owens 3:53
7. "Kentucky Jelly"   Paisley, Rogers, Mac McAnally 2:43
8. "Playing with Fire"   Robert Arthur, Paisley 4:51
9. "More Than Just This Song" (featuring Steve Wariner) Paisley, Steve Wariner 5:14
10. "Les Is More"   Paisley, Rogers 3:18
11. "Pre-Cluster Cluster Pluck Prequel" (A.K.A. "From Uncle Jimmy to Justin"[19]) Paisley, Rogers, Kevin "Swine" Grantt 1:34
12. "Cluster Pluck" (featuring James Burton, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, John Jorgenson, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert, Steve Wariner) Paisley, Rogers, Grantt 3:31
13. "Cliffs of Rock City"   Paisley, Arthur 3:44
14. "Let the Good Times Roll" (featuring B. B. King) Fleecie Moore, Sam Theard 5:30
15. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"   Traditional 2:31
16. "Waitin' on a Woman" (featuring Andy Griffith) Don Sampson, Wynn Varble 5:02
Total length:


Chart performance[edit]


Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 1
U.S. Billboard 200 9
Canadian Albums Chart 23


Year Single Peak chart positions
US Country US CAN
2008 "Start a Band" (with Keith Urban) 1 55 51


  1. ^ a b c d e "Critic Reviews for Play". Metacritic. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Play - Brad Paisley". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (2008-11-08). "Play". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Pastorek, Whitney (2008-10-30). "Play Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  5. ^ Kinter, Thomas (November 4, 2008). "BRAD PAISLEY: Play". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Randy (November 3, 2008). "Album review: Brad Paisley's 'Play'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (November 2, 2008). "Brad Paisley: Play". Slant. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Barnes, Ken (November 3, 2008). "Brad Paisley, Play: Guitar Picnic". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 17, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ Hurt, Edd (November 12, 2008). "Brad Paisley Salutes Great Women, Guitarists, Puns". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bristow Run Elementary School - Announcements & Events". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  11. ^ a b "Brad Paisley is at 'Play' With New Album". The Boot. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  12. ^ "Brad Paisley Gets Ready for Election Day Play". CMT. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  13. ^ "Next Brad Paisley CD Features Buck". Great American Country. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  14. ^ "He can pick it, and he can pick 'em". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  15. ^ Bonaguro, Alison (2009-02-09). "Brad Paisley won two Grammys but didn't go". CMT. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  16. ^ Neal, Chris (2008-12-01). "Reviews: Brad Paisley — Play". Country Weekly. 15 (24): 58. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Brad Paisley". Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  19. ^ ASCAP song page for "From Uncle Jimmy to Justin"
Preceded by
That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy by Toby Keith
Top Country Albums number-one album
November 22, 2008
Succeeded by
Fearless by Taylor Swift