|Brad PaisleyAfter five albums -- the double-platinum fourth was crowned Album of the Year by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music -- the West Virginia favorite son has established a fresh sound and a distinct creative path. Rooted in traditional country sounds, yet as modern as a hybrid vehicle, Brad Paisley's music draws on humor, sincerity, compassion, instrumental prowess and unique song topics to give him a style all his own."5th Gear is something you reach when you're on a long, good stretch and you're really rolling," Paisley says. "This album, and this time in my career, feels like that. We are pushing things further in every way -- musically, lyrically and in our concerts."Indeed, by this point, the multi-threat guitarist, singer, songwriter and entertainer has placed himself among the leaders of his generation of country music stars. He's been nominated for a whopping 38 CMA Awards since 2000, the year he won the Horizon Award. In 2006, besides winning Album of the Year for Time Well Wasted, he also took his third Musical Event of the Year honor, this time for "When I Get Where I'm Going," his hit duet with Country Music Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton. His streak continued into 2007, when he won the prestigious Top Male Vocalist honor at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Male Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association.In the end, Paisley figures he is indeed in 5th Gear now; he and his band are running at top speed and firing on all pistons, and he's honed his songwriting and his guitar-playing ability to where he's not afraid to push forward a little further."I think this album is really a candid snapshot of who I am and what me and my band can do," he says. "We challenged ourselves, and I'm really proud of what we've done."