While Doug Paisley does share a surname with a multi-platinum, Guitar Hero-style country star, the two Paisleys couldn't be further apart. No doubt with an eye towards Neil Young and The Band, Paisley proudly claims his Canadian heritage and revels in a dedication to songcraft and low-key arrangements. That he's also kicked about on tour with Bonnie "Prince" Billy only reinforces such notions.
Coming in on a loping snare that sounds brushed by Levon Helm himself, a wheezing Stray Gator organ as melodic back up, Paisley's weathered keen on "What About Us?" evokes yet another fan of such muses — namely Jim James of My Morning Jacket. If you found yourself wishing last year's Evil Urges emphasized not the gaudy funk of "Highly Suspicious," but rather the softer pop tones, then Doug Paisley will fill the bill. Comforting and relaxed, there's just a curl of country to his voice and playing. Little details shine throughout: a slight crunch of earth amid the piano lines of "Digging in the Ground," the back-up vocals of Simone Schmidt that shadow him on "A Day is Very Long." In fact, "Last Duet," with its gentle pedal steel swells, sounds as if it could cross over to CMT.