"The Rescue" Joe Paisley Somewhere between the vast expanse of hardcore metal and acoustic rock one finds Joe Paisley, patiently strumming his guitar and suffering through his melodious lyrics. Paisley, amid the release of his second album, entitled "The Rescue" isn't battling demons on the forefront; rather, the eclectic artist faces life's ordinary challenges with an insight, emotion and, most importantly, harmony and rock that few young artists convey. Think Kensrue, but with less piteous religion; think _______, but with more self-awareness. Paisley has, for the second-straight album, fused his guitar and voice into his own musical style that plays without definition, according to the artist himself. Perhaps his father's musical ear might label it someday, as he continues to drop the bass track for each of Joe's songs. In "This Town," Paisley's first album, he took his listener through the interweaving highway of small town feeding profound emotion. Perhaps the greatest personal touch Paisley has fingerprinted on his music is the fusion of inter emotion meeting outside beauty - whether that beauty comes in the form of a dark-haired angel, a mountain top, or a family bond. More than just a lyrical scribe (think Bruce), he emphasizes his libretto with surprising, yet melodic, twists in chorus verse, making sure syllabic weight remains directed on his target (think Dylan). This target has bulls eyed his father and mother, his sister and brother, his love, and his hometown - all one and the same - with a zeal that keeps the listener entranced through the slower and faster chords, all which he mixes and blends himself. For "The Rescue," Paisley has taken his first record's greatest strengths and applied them to his own authority - understanding emotion, namely his, and putting it to an acoustic tune that can often be mistaken for faster than it is. "The Rescue" takes on, at times, a guise for attacking modern issues of our world. In "Drop Your Flag," the lyrics "The way we looked before/these uniforms we're wearing/took the shape around our chest/before we hide from grace..." seem to instigate an attack on America's war in Iraq; yet when one peers closer, rather there is a movement towards recognizing family and friends, bonds and love, knowing no bounds. Or boundaries. "These city walls/are just like people/my family and my friends." Paisley insinuates that judgment doesn't befall the action; it's the emotional weight of the situation that he strives to capture. And does. So what is the essence of Paisley's second album that might define it beyond itself? It's that there is no set motif. It's the artist's shown humbleness towards having no answers, simply understanding and observing. Paisley moves away from preaching towards his listener - in fact, in "Pick and Choose," he takes a religious undertone and makes light of the situation that preaching belief often leads to confusing simplicity ("All your words are in review.../ A heavy book,/worth a steady look./But everyone who knows you/goes insane/in review/I take what I like/it\'s pick and choose"). He brilliantly embraces the confusion of each and every 20-something year-old and gives us all a reason to relax, put our feet up, and get back to communicating with each other, with nature: "The future of this life/discovering that there is air./Some houses seem so dead;/their TV's louder than the leaves." (from "Always This Easy") It seems easy to assume that Paisley's variance in musical style throughout his life has led him to unchartered waters in his second album of acoustic rock. If it's not heavy, how can it be acoustic and run with the same effect? Instead, he has synthesized genre lines and allowed himself artistic freedom to feel the music, rather than search for it. The end result is a dead honest approach to a life being led with few answers, and a genuine acceptance of it. Because, ultimately, when you have loved ones, a guitar, a studio, and a second album on the verge, there isn't too much to be angrily screeching about. - James Cordes 09/08/08.