In tomorrow’s Singles Jukebox review of Brad Paisley’s “Southern Comfort Zone,” I’ll write: “Liberalism and genre conventions at a crossroads, with a guitar solo that’s a cry of anguish.” Two weeks ago the song was a crouch, a defensive cri de coeur by the one country artist whose New Yorker and rockcrit acceptance probably inspires Toby Keith to throw plastic solo cups at his posters. Listening tonight after a morning’s listen on the local country station, I retract my ambivalence because Paisley is assured about facing his. “Not everyone drives a truck/Not everyone drinks sweet tea,” he sings in a pained, rather rushed way, the drums hurrying him along casting a nervous eye at Kip Moore’s “Somethin’ About a Truck” if not a hundred country songs in the last half decade. When his voice cracks during “Not everyone knows the lyrics to ‘Ring of Fire’ or ‘Amazing Grace’,” it’s not a repudiation of the last album’s “This is Country Music” so much as a redress: an affirmation that genres contain multitudes, that country artists can perform in Barack Hussein Obama’s White House. If “Southern Comfort Zone” still doesn’t reach greatness, blame Paisley’s inclination to remain, yes, in the comfort zone: relying on masterful guitar when words and voice hover at the pedestrian level, not to mention a backing chorus singing “Dixie” because they couldn’t whistle it, but also failing to delineate what stepping outside that comfort zone looks like. The lacuna in this song depends on our awareness that Paisley is a liberal. Very well. A liberal reliant on curiosity should define travel as tropes less boilerplate than “foreign lands” and being kissed in Rome while a mandolin replaces the guitar. I don’t expect him to invite Ne-Yo to join him for a Kenny Rogers-Lionel Richie attempt at rapprochement. We shouldn’t know what to expect.