The country star’s 10th studio LP, Moonshine in the Trunk made its debut at Number One — his eighth album in a row to reach the top with first-week sales. He’s the runner-up over on the all-genre Billboard 200, just behind pop sensation Ariana Grande.
Paisley started “leaking” Moonshine tracks in late July, getting almost all of the new music out (with a little help from famous friends) before the project’s August 25th release date, much to the dismay of his record label. His motivation to bend the rules had a lot to do with the harsh criticism of “Accidental Racist,” a duet with LL Cool J on his previous album, Wheelhouse, that was well-intentioned but misunderstood.
“I made this record with my fans in my mind, so I am going to present this my way,” Paisley tells Rolling Stone Country. “LL and I could’ve presented ‘Accidental Racist’ in a different way, and the story might have been different. When I made [Wheelhouse], I was trying to be very artistic. I said, ‘This is the record I made, and I’ll just present this and walk away, and whatever you think is whatever you think,’ naively thinking that people would say, ‘Really cool! I’m glad you’re saying this.’ But we ended up with NPR pieces and three-person panels on CNN, debating what we were doing. This time, I wasn’t gonna let that happen. I didn’t tell anyone this, but I started leaking the songs one at a time. ‘Jeff Gordon, would you like to deliver ‘Moonshine’ for me?’ ‘Chick-Fil-A, you there?’ ‘Hey, NASA! You wanna do this one?’ By the time the record’s out, reviewers can say what they want, but my fans will have heard it… and at least I had fun presenting it like a bootlegger would.”
Paisley has now legally released the album’s second single, “Perfect Storm,” which follows the feel-good summer song, “River Bank.” Co-written with Lee Thomas Miller, “Perfect Storm” brings the tempo down and the romance up with its lyrics about a complicated (in a good way) woman who “ain’t just a song, she’s the whole mixtape.” Watch the song’s lyric video below.
According to Mediabase, “Perfect Storm” was the most-added song on country radio this week.