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Brad Paisley and a float along the water

Country star will draw crowd of boats to Aquapalooza Saturday on Lake Travis

Michael Corcoran

'All you need this time of year/ Is a pair of shades and ice cold beer/ And a place to sit somewhere near the water'

- Brad Paisley 'Water' (2010)

In the dusty days of country music legends Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, large inner tubes were strictly 'inner,' inflated inside tires of 18-wheelers. Nowadays, when you pair country music and tubes, you think of partying on the Guadalupe River with a floating cooler and singing along to Merle Haggard or Jason Boland.

When the Sons of the Pioneers recorded 'Cool Water' in 1947, they were singing about liquid refreshment after a long day on the cattle drive, not swinging into spring-fed pools or doing tricks on water skis.

Another thing we can hang on Jimmy Buffett: Country music and water fun go together like tequila and triple sec. Ushered in by such Buffettarians as Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and, most recently, Brad Paisley, and taken to Texas extremes by collegian country acts, there's water, water everywhere and not a drop is drank.

Nashville comes to Lake Travis big time this week with Aquapalooza, a free concert headlined Saturday by Paisley. The catch is that you have to own a boat or know someone who does in order to attend. (Or you can go on Craiglist and buy your way onto someone's boat for around $85 a person.) There is no land access to the show, which runs from noon to 7:30 p.m. and features such support acts as Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Joanna Smith and Matt Stillwell trying to make a splash.

Aquapalooza is a nationwide theme at almost 100 locations, but the Paisley concert is the signature event. Alan Jackson headlined last year in Alabama and drew about 30,000 fans.

This year's show is hosted by Sail & Ski Center of Lake Travis, along with Sea Ray boats. The stage will be set up at Calcasieu Point at mile marker 22. Rafting lines open at 7 a.m. About 5,000 boats, carrying roughly six people each, are expected.

Paisley is the perfect choice to headline, not just because he's terrifically talented, but his tour is named 'H2O' after his current hit 'Water,' his 13th consecutive No. 1 single.

Water wasn't such a good thing earlier this year when Paisley lost several guitars and amps in May after Soundcheck Nashville filled up with 5 feet of water from the Cumberland River. Luckily, Paisley's favorite guitar, the '68 Fender Telecaster nicknamed 'Old Pink,' was safely at home. It should spray the James Burton-inspired licks all over Lake T on Saturday.

Those who can't wait until then can have boatloads of fun Friday, when Aquapalooza hosts a Battle of the Bands, with the winner to come back Saturday. Land sharks might chose to pay $30 cover to see the bubbling-under Eli Young Band at Carlos N' Charlie's Friday. Originally from Denton, EYB hit the top five on the country album sales chart last year with 'Jet Black and Jealous,' but they've yet to have a breakout single. Could new song 'Crazy Girl,' a crowd favorite, do the trick?

An idea for the video: The crazy girl of the title is just hating her job as a receptionist. It's just one jerk after the next coming in to the office (Little Jimmy Dickens cameo alert) and she's about to tear her hair out. Then a smile comes over her face. Dream sequence finds her tubing down a river, splashing a shirtless male model in a cowboy hat. She gets up from her desk and starts shedding her business attire until she reaches the front door wearing only a bikini. She gets in a pickup with an inner tube in the back and peels out.

Yeah, that girl's crazy, but nothing a little float down the river won't cure. The last shot, of course, will be two large black inner tubes in the back of a pickup truck driving away at night.

The Brad Paisley show on Saturday at Lake Travis is the signature event of Aquapalooza, a series of concerts across the country. There are activities on Friday, too. (Saturday's schedule is from noon to 7:30 p.m.) It's free, but access is by boat, and you must register at www.aquapalooza.com, where you can find all the details.