Considering that Brad Paisley spoke about the treatment of soldiers on his last album and even had a song called "The Devil Is Alive And Well", you'd think that "Heaven South" is a parody of something the first time you hear it. It's not horrendous by any measure, but it's one of those songs where you hear it and just think, "what the hell, Brad?"
Let's start off with the positives. The song itself sounds like something that would have been a song on any of Brad's 2000's albums from a sonic standpoint. There's some nice banjo supporting the song along with some quieter mandolin and pedal steel against the electric guitar, and for a song that's going for a down home country feel...well they at least got this right...
There's no way to dance around that writing though, because like I said, it feels like a parody. It's a checklist, lazy list of the attributes of a small town. It's so perfect. It's got fried chicken, sweet tea, beer and ice, and of course we have to slip in a reference to a "country angel". It's not creepy by any means, but the entire picture painted has you thinking it's like friggin' Disneyland...or Disney World...whichever one is the happiest place on Earth, because whichever one it is, it comes second to this place. Heck, I'm pretty sure they resurrected Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bee for the music video. My point is, it's your incredibly average tale of how great small town life without any of the witty personality to back it up. Even Brad himself kind of sounds like he's phoning it in to be honest.
The sad part is that you know why this thing even exists - to maintain Brad's radio relevance. Hey, I get it, but I still can't see this hammering out a big return for Brad. Hell, if he really wants to make an impact, why not just release the Johnny Cash penned "Gold All Over The Ground" or literally any of the other tracks remaining? As it is, this is a disappointing single choice for Brad, especially coming off of the excellent "Last Time For Everything". For his sake, I hope it does well, but you won't see me defending the quality of the song.
Listen: "Heaven South"