Southern Comfort Zone

Album: Wheelhouse (2012)
Charted: 54
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Songfacts®:

  • The first single from Brad Paisley's eighth studio album features both a spoken word contribution by radio personality and Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs and harmonies by the Brentwood Baptist Church choir. It was released to Country radio on September 21, 2012.
  • Paisley penned the song with Chris DuBois and Kelley Lovelace, the same trio that penned the singer's previous hits, "Online", "Water," and "Remind Me."
  • The thought provoking single finds Paisley singing about all the great things he loves about the South but he goes on to challenge his fellow Southerners to step outside of their "Southern Comfort Zone" and appreciate all the good things elsewhere. "I will say, I love Nashville and I love the South and I love living in that area," he told The Tennessean. "It's very comfortable, and we all feel so at home there. It's not until you see the world that you learn to appreciate that. I'm encouraging people to take a look around. There's some great places around the world that will expand your mind and also make you love this Southern comfort zone."

    The title is a play on Southern Comfort, a popular liqueur.
  • Paisley references both an evangelist and the baking mix brand that's been the long-term sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry when he sings, "You have fed me, you have saved me, Billy Graham and Martha White."
  • The song was put together by Paisley and producer Brad Rogers at his own recording studio on his farm without Pro Tools or any other such studio trickery that is generally used to enhance recordings. "It was the scariest moment of my recording career, because we were really doing it without a net," Paisley told Billboard magazine. "I felt like as an artist it was time for me to challenge myself, for better or worse. At some point, you've got to go outside, ironically, your comfort zone to do that."
  • The sentiment of the tune sums up for Paisley the whole recording process of the album: "It's an open-your-mind kind of song," he told Billboard. "That, to me, feels more risky, like there's more reward for having written it as an artist. I like sonic messes. [laughs] This whole record is basically that."
  • The song's music video was directed by Jim Shea and filmed in eight different countries with no special tricks. "An interesting fact about this video is that there is no green screen," the Country superstar told fans during a live Ustream chat. "The giraffe is real, every location is a real location. We flew 10,000 miles to do this, which is a lot of fun for me. I love to see the world. I'm in the right line of work for that."
  • Brad Paisley never dreamed this tune would be a single, envisioning it as simply the first track on the album. He added that he saw it as a "mission statement" for Wheelhouse that, "basically says, 'here's where we're going, here's where we're headed.' Which is, 'we're going to see the world, we're going to break down boundaries, we're going to leave our comfort zones.'"
  • The album title comes from the song's first line, "When your wheelhouse is the land of cotton."
  • Brad Paisley appears to be taking a flying leap on the cover of Wheelhouse, representing what he's doing musically on the album. He explained to CMT News: "I sent Luke Wooten, who mixed a lot of this record, the cover when it was done. Which is me sort of in mid air and the wheel of guitars and knickknacks that represent songs and the water. And he said, 'You're gonna tear your ACL on that Strat.' And I told him, 'No, no, no, I'm rising, I'm not falling.' I don't necessarily know what it's supposed to represent, but it does sort of feel a little bit metaphorical that way."

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