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Brad Paisley: 'Old Alabama'

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Back when he was playing clubs near his hometown in West Virginia, Brad Paisley learned one thing for sure: A little “Mountain Music” could win over even the toughest crowd. “You could be in the middle of the worst show you’ve ever done and pull out an Alabama song, and the audience would go nuts,” he says. “I probably played their songs as much as they did!” So when Paisley sat down with songwriters Dave Turnbull and Chris DuBois to write a song about the iconic quartet, it seemed only natural to sample a few bars from the masters themselves.

“We had the chorus pretty quick,” says Paisley, “and we had a bridge that said, ‘If you really want to turn her on, play her some old Alabama.’ Then Chris says, No, it needs to be ‘Play some back home, come on music, that comes from the heart.’ And it went from there.”

Inviting Alabama to perform on the record brought the song full circle. When Owen joined Paisley in the studio, “he brought the guitar he played on ‘Mountain Music’ and ‘Feels So Right’ and started playing, and it sounded exactly like we were back in time,” says Paisley. “It was unbelievable!” “It brought back such great memories; that was a gift,” says Owen. “I was so proud we hadn’t been forgotten about.” In fact, thanks to the song’s success, the group is now reaching a whole new audience. “To have all these people saying, ‘Oh, I forgot how great they were,’ and to see young kids just discovering Alabama, I love that,” says Paisley. “I’m proud to be some part of it.”