Mid-State's Brad Paisley Courts Country Controversy

Apr 12, 2013

Credit bradpaisley.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Country artist and Middle Tennessee resident Brad Paisley has stirred controversy with the release of his song "Accidental Racist.”

The song is a collaboration with artist LL Cool J and focuses on racial perceptions. “Accidental Racist” has drawn the ire of both the country and urban music worlds.

Paisley, a Franklin resident, says he wrote the song after someone called him racist for wearing a t-shirt with a Confederate flag in the logo.

Middle Tennessee State University musicologist Dr. Dale Cockrell says his hat is off to Paisley for taking country music where it’s never gone before.

“Many country artists will let you know where they stand in relation to the good ole’ boy south, for example, but I don’t think of any country song that really kind of brings the horns of two issues right into juxtaposition. And that’s interesting because almost all other genres of music do at some point.”

Cockrell says the song picks up on a recent trend in southern literature acknowledging the south’s complicated history and culture.

He’s hopeful Paisley’s tune will spark a conversation that’s long overdue.