"River Bank"

Paisley still has a bit of a scarlet "A" (as in "Accidental Racist") on his Stetson – but that ideological septic spill aside, he's always been one of Nashville's sharpest dudes. This laid-back ode to inner tubes and bikinis, from an album due later this year, comes with a bendy Stones-steeped riff and a clever chorus that's like ad copy for low-budget fun ("We're laughing our way to the river bank"). If there must be bro-country, let it be this genial.

From The Archives Issue 1208: May 8, 2014