Brad Paisley on How His New Album Was Inspired By Timbaland Smacking a Banjo

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Brad Paisley performs during the 2016 Festival D'ete De Quebec on July 12, 2016 in Quebec City, Canada.

With Love and War, out April 21, three-time Grammy Award winner Brad Paisley recruited a wide array of music greats (Mick Jagger, John Fogerty and Timbaland among them) to his farmhouse studio outside Nashville. The 44-year-old country star breaks down the influences behind his most versatile LP yet.

1. GIVING A VOICE TO VETS

“Our government blew an opportunity to give our veterans the medical attention and appreciation they deserve. I had the idea to write with John Fogerty, the voice of that generation of Vietnam veterans. He said ‘Love and War’ was his first co-write. I felt the pressure.”

2. TIMBALAND’S GRASSY RHYTHMS

“His instinct was that making hip-hop would be wrong in every way for me. So where do we gel best? He said, ‘Country and hip-hop come together in bluegrass,’ since it’s all about the rhythm. So in the studio, Timbaland’s beating on a banjo with a pair of brushes, and it sounds like a jug band. That’s what led to ‘Grey Goose Chase.’”

3. GUITAR HEROES

“I can’t play a solo without thinking about John Jorgenson. I always think about what he would do. And there’s a lot of personal things in the song ‘Last Time for Everything,’ like Little Jimmy [Dickens] on the Opry stage and seeing Glenn Frey [pictured] at The Forum.”

4. THE BIRTH OF HIS SECOND SON

“‘Today’ is about when Jasper was born. My wife [actress Kimberly Williams Paisley] had an emergency C-section, and I go from a birthing suite to scrubs and an operating table. Then I’m handed this child. There’s something about that moment I wouldn’t change for anything.”

This article originally appeared in the April 15 issue of Billboard.