In Nashville, singers and pickers tend to be pegged as separate breeds. From the start, though, Brad Paisley never hid his chops as a player — even as he gained fame as a vocalist and songwriter. So this guitar-oriented album doesn’t come out of the blue. Still, not many country stars get to entertain their musical fantasies to the extent Paisley does here. He aces just about every challenge he takes on, bringing a formidable array of guests along for the ride. Play makes it clear that Paisley is no country purist — he renders surf instrumentals (“Turf’s Up”), Les Paul-style jazz (“Les Is More”), roadhouse blues (“Playing With Fire”), and ‘80s-style arena rock (“Cliffs of Rock City”) with a sure touch and a sense of fun. He balances his flashier flights with quieter acoustic pieces like “Kim.” “Cluster Pluck,” an all-star guitar jam, finds Paisley holding his own with legends like James Burton and Albert Lee. He gets steamy with B.B. King (“Let the Good Times Roll”), philosophizes with Andy Griffith (“Waitin’ On a Woman”) and revisits the Bakersfield sound with the late Buck Owens (“Come On In”). No doubt about it: that Brad sure can play.

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