Brad Paisley has been something of a prodigy in country music ever since his West Virginia boyhood. The singer-songwriter wrote songs, laid down masterful guitar licks, and had no hesitation about paying tribute to his elders who paved his way. Songs like “This Is Country Music” ring with the musician’s respect for the traditions of his genre. His latest album, "Love And War," released last Friday, April 21, paying homage while collaborating with pioneers like Bill Anderson. At the same time, the album steers in a decidedly more defiant and edgier direction simultaneously.

Brad Paisley writes with new passion and old and new partners on “Love and War.” One of those partners, Johnny Cash, passed, but lives on vibrantly through a legacy of gold in his work, his words, and the legacy of love shared with June Carter. All of those gifts are reflected in Paisley's video for the song, “Gold All Over The Ground,” shown in a Rolling Stone feature.

Captured in the cabin

It seems impossible that such remarkable lives can be captured in a little over 3 minutes, but Brad Paisley's journey to the cabin built in 1978 by Cash as a spot for musical and spiritual retreat summons the very souls of Johnny and June through the walls, the floor, and almost every rustic Tennessee fiber of the powerful setting.

Paisley's solitary strumming and singing of the ballad is interspersed with family footage, including a very young John Carter Cash. The imagery of June at Johnny’s feet, being implored “to listen for an hour, maybe two” is painted so clearly through the lyrics. The promise, “I'd give you rows of roses and gold all over the ground,” was already fulfilled through a lifetime of devotion, and Brad Paisley conveys that.

Brad Paisley and Johnny Cash share writing credits on the moving composition.

Eclectic guests

“Love and War” draws from the past, but also invites the full music culture of today. Timbaland and Paisley team up on the fun hoedown, “Grey Goose Chase” and breezy “Solar Power Girl.” Fittingly, John Fogerty takes up the protest mantle on the title track, standing strong for today's veterans, and done with the fighting spirit spurned in “Fortunate Son." One of the greatest living rock icons, Mick Jagger, lends his indomitable energy on “Drive of Shame.”

There’s still the familiar drawl that Brad Paisley uses as another device to emphasize meaning, and there’s enough of something different to keep his fans guessing, and maybe draw in new listeners.