Skip to main content
Select Source:

Paisley, Brad

Brad Paisley

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

In what seemed a meteoric rise to fame, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Brad Paisley went from obscurity to near-superstardom with the release of his debut album in 1999. In the early and middle 2000s he was a fixture on the country touring and recording scene who evolved into a consistent chart-topper. Paisley's success sprang from years of study, practice, and experience—he started young, worked very hard, and controlled every aspect of his recording career. That included his work in the studio; he was one of few mainstream contemporary artists who used his own band in recording sessions rather than relying on studio musicians.

Born on October 28, 1972, in West Virginia, Paisley was a native of Glen Dale, a town of fewer than 2,000 people. He spent his after-school time with his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, who worked the afternoon shift at the railroad. Jarvis, who also played bluegrass acoustic guitar, gave his grandson a guitar—a Sears Danelectro Silvertone, complete with an amplifier and case—at age eight. Jarvis also sent Paisley to Clarence "Hank" Goddard, a local guitar pro. In a genre where lead vocalists often have only average guitar skills, Paisley grew into a musician proficient on a variety of acoustic and electric guitars. "Yeah, I'm a nut case," he told Andy Ellis of Guitar Player. "I really love gear."

With Goddard's encouragement, Paisley learned to fret and riff like a professional musician. His earliest live performances were at his church at age nine; he wrote his first song, "Born on Christmas Day," at age 12. That year he played a radio concert on USA Jamboree Live, a popular Saturday night program broadcast on WWVA radio in Wheeling, West Virginia. The public response was so positive that the young singer-guitarist spent the next eight years as a regular on the show and sang warmups for many popular recording stars, including George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens. It was an invaluable apprenticeship in the business as well as the traditional side of country music.

When Paisley was 13, Goddard invited him to join his own band. Goddard was also a dedicated teacher who encouraged his progress. Paisley also joined the roster of the yearly Jamboree in the Hills at age 14, and for the next for 6 years entertained about 60,000 spectators annually in the hills outside of Wheeling.

In 1991 Paisley began his college career at West Liberty State College, West Virginia, but two years later he moved to Nashville, a decision spurred in part by encouragement from a professor. There, Paisley enrolled in a music business curriculum at Belmont University. After completing college internships at the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Atlantic Records, and Fitzgerald-Hartley Management, Paisley had a solid background and extensive experience in the music business by the time he graduated in 1995.

Paisley made many contacts during his various internships, including scouts from EMI Music Publishing. The connections proved invaluable, and within a week of graduation he had signed a songwriting deal with EMI. Eventually one of his song demos attracted the attention of singer Alan Jackson, who requested a hold on the composition, called "I'm Gonna Miss Her." Arista Records, after hearing the demo, requested a longer demo and signed Paisley to a recording contract soon afterward.

Paisley began work on his first album, Who Needs Pictures, in 1998. He had already written a large repertoire of songs, enough for several albums. Opting not to hire a studio guitarist, he played all the parts himself and used his tour band in the studio despite the group's limited recording experience. The album was under production and nearing completion when he decided to bring in a former college friend and musical collaborator, Frank Rogers, as producer. Rogers had no experience as a major record producer, but Paisley had faith in him. The debut album, Who Needs Pictures, was released on June 1, 1999.

"He Didn't Have to Be," a track from the album, lingered at the top of the Billboard country singles chart for two weeks, earning Paisley a special distinction as the only new country star to score a number one hit on that chart that year. It was written by Paisley and Kelley Lovelace, a frequent collaborator and close friend, and was inspired by the relationship between Lovelace and his stepson. The song was honored with several award nominations, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year from the Country Music Association. It won Song of the Year honors from Turner News Network and from the Country Music Television Country Weekly Music Awards. The Country Music Association recognized Paisley with a nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year. Don "Hoppy" Jeffrey of KFRG in San Bernadino, California, told Billboard that "Brad Paisley's music is blazing a path and setting the pace for country music in the new millennium." The album, an enhanced compact disc, was certified platinum in February of 2001.

On May 28, 1999, Paisley made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. After approximately 40 appearances, Paisley was inducted as a regular cast member on February 17, 2001, at age 28. He was the youngest member of the Opry cast, and with a mix of story songs and wry novelties such as "Me Neither," he held strong appeal for traditional country fans while maintaining a guitar-heavy sound that country radio programmers found friendly.

For the Record …

Born on October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, WV; married Kimberly Williams (an actress), 2003; children: William Huckleberry. Education: Studied guitar with Clarence "Hank" Goddard; attended West Liberty State College, West Virginia, 1991-93; earned degree in music business, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993-95.

Signed songwriting contract with EMI, 1995; signed with Arista Records, c. 1998; released debut album, Who Needs Pictures, 1999; made Grand Ole Opry debut, 1999; released Part II, 2001; inducted as a regular cast member, Grand Ole Opry, 2001; released Mud on the Tires, 2003; released Time Well Wasted, 2005; and 5th Gear, 2007.

Awards: Academy of Country Music Award, Top New Male, 1999; Country Music Association Horizon Award, 2000; Country Music Association, Vocal Event of the Year Award, for "Too Country," 2001; Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriter of the Year, 2000-01; Connie B. Gay Award, 2002; (with Allison Krauss) Country Music Association, Music Video of the Year and Musical Event of the Year, both for "Whiskey Lullaby," 2004; (with Allison Krauss) Country Music Television, Collaborative Video of the Year award, for "Whiskey Lullaby," 2005; Country Music Association, Album of the Year, for Time Well Wasted; (with Dolly Parton) Musical Event of the Year, for "When I Get Where I'm Going," 2006; three Academy of Country Music awards, including Album of the Year, for Time Well Wasted, 2006; Country Music Association, Male Vocalist of the Year and Music Video of the Year ("Online"), 2007; Academy of Country Music, Male Vocalist of the Year, 2007.

Addresses: Record company—Arista Nashville, 1400 18th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212, Web site: http://aristanashville.com. Management—Fitzgerald/Hartley Co., 1908 Wedgwood, Nashville, TN 37212. Web site—Brad Paisley Official Web site: http://www.bradpaisley.com.

Paisley has said that his albums are musical photographs, pictures of life that sometimes flow like movies. He called his 2001 follow-up album Part II, in an allusion to movie sequels. He was in fact so concerned with flow that he orchestrated the beginning of Part II to pick up the fading fiddles from the end of Who NeedsPictures. Part II rose to number three on the Billboard country albums chart by early June, and was certified platinum by August. By the end of 2002, Part II had spent more than 70 weeks on the charts.

Part II featured Paisley's award-winning track, "Too Country," written by Chuck Cannon and Bill Anderson. The song, which presented a warm, cozy image of country life: fried chicken, gravy, biscuits, and nostalgia, was named Vocal Event of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2001. Paisley opened for superstars such as Alan Jackson and Lonestar in the late 1990s and early 2000s but also appeared at a citadel of country tradition: Buck Owens's Crystal Palace Club in Bakersfield, California. He built a fan base the old-fashioned way, by appearing at festivals and fairs, including River Bend in Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Lites in Commerce, Georgia, West Virginia's Jamboree in the Hills, the New Mexico State Fair, the West Virginia Intermountain Fair, and the Georgia Mountain Fair.

Paisley's favorite instrument, according to Guitar Player, was a 1968 Fender Telecaster with a maple fret board decorated in a paisley pattern. After an endorsement deal with Gibson, he was able to add a Chet Atkins Gretsch Country Gentleman model to his collection. He acquired a variety of other vintage electric guitars, and has played them on his recordings, matching the sound of each individual guitar to particular songs.

In a Field & Stream interview, Paisley said that he loves to fish for bass and almost every other fish except trout. His 2002 hit "I'm Gonna Miss Her" (The Fishin' Song), which topped Billboard magazine's country singles chart, expressed the sentiment that fishing is more important than a relationship with any particular woman, a notion on which he elaborated in the song's associated video. Paisley has also been an enthusiastic hunter, with bow and arrow and with rifle. In 2003 Paisley married actress Kimberly Williams; the couple had a son, Huck, in 2007.

Paisley's career continued to build with his 2004 album Mud on the Tires and its 2005 successor Time Well Wasted, both of which topped country album charts and cracked Billboard's general top ten. The singer continued to specialize in light material that was sometimes described as cute, but one of the most talked about songs on Mud on the Tires was "Whiskey Lullaby," a grim tale of alcoholism and death that Paisley performed as a duet with bluegrass vocalist Allison Krauss. The two shared Vocal Event of the Year honors for the song at the 2004 Country Music Awards and also snared the Collaborative Video of the Year award from Country Music Television the following year. Another notable Paisley collaboration was "When I Get Where I'm Going," recorded with Dolly Parton.

Alcohol also served as the subject matter for a Paisley single release of that title from Time Well Wasted; the song, written by Paisley himself, was unusual in that it was written from the perspective of alcohol itself rather than of one of its users or abusers. Paisley also had a songwriting hand in another novelty: his 2007 release "Ticks" depicted a barroom pick-up scene in which Paisley invites a woman he has met to go for a drive and then a walk in the woods, telling her that "I'd like to check you for ticks." "I think it's been about the most polarizing thing I've ever done," Paisley admitted to Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly. The song gave Paisley another number one country hit.

"Ticks" came from Paisley's 2007 album 5th Gear, which topped Billboard 's country chart once again and rose to number three on the general top 200 chart. The album also spawned the number-one single "Letter to Me," Paisley's sixth consecutive country chart-topper, in 2008. By that time, Paisley had notched double 2007 Male Vocalist of the Year honors at the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) in Nashville and at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Los Angeles, and had received a host of other awards. Between 2000 and 2008 he received 33 CMA Award nominations. He has established the Brad Paisley Foundation to benefit charities such as the Children's Miracle Network, St. Jude's Research Hospital, the Opry Trust Fund, and the American Cancer Society.

Selected discography

(Contributor) Happy, Texas (soundtrack), Arista Nashville, 1999.

Who Needs Pictures, Arista, 1999.

(Contributor) Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, RCA, 2000.

Part II, Arista, 2001.

Mud on the Tires, Arista, 2003.

Time Well Wasted, Arista, 2005.

5th Gear, Arista, 2007.

Sources

Periodicals

Amusement Business, June 5, 2000, p. 6.

Billboard, April 17, 1999, p. 25.

Country Music, December 2000/January 2001, p. 72.

Entertainment Weekly, August 24, 2007, p. 27.

Field & Stream, December 2002-January 2003, p. 50.

Guitar Player, October 1999, p. 39; December 2007, p. 78.

Online

"Brad Paisley," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll (March 1, 2008).

Brad Paisley Official Web site, http:/www.bradpaisley.com (March 24, 2003).

"A Son for Brad Paisley & Kimberly Williams," People,http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20012772,00.html (March 1, 2008).

—Gloria Cooksey and James M. Manheim

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paisley-brad-0

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paisley-brad-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Paisley, Brad

Brad Paisley

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

For the Record…

Selected discography

Sources

In what seemed a meteoric rise to fame, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Brad Paisley went from obscurity to near-superstardom with the release of his debut album in 1999. By early 2000 he was scheduled for concerts every other day as both an opening act and as a headliner. In reality, however, this illusion belied years of study, practice, and experience—Paisley started young, worked very hard, and controlled every aspect of his recording career.

Born on October 28, 1972, in West Virginia, Paisley’s hometown of Glen Dale had a population of fewer than 2,000. He spent his after-school time with his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, who worked the afternoon shift at the railroad. Jarvis, who also played bluegrass acoustic guitar, gave his grandson a guitar—a Sears Danelectro Silvertone, complete with an amplifier and case—at age eight. Jarvis also sent Paisley to Clarence “Hank” Goddard, a local guitar pro.

With Goddard’s encouragement Paisley learned to fret and riff like a professional musician. His earliest live performances were at his church at age 9; he wrote his first song, “Born on Christmas Day,” at age 12. That year he played a radio concert on USA Jamboree Live, a popular Saturday night program broadcast on WWVA radio in Wheeling, West Virginia. The public response was so positive that the young singer-guitarist spent the next eight years as a regular on the show and sang warm-ups for many popular recording stars, including George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens. It was an invaluable apprenticeship in the business of country music.

When Paisley was 13, Goddard invited him to join his own band. According to Paisley, he was not very good, but Goddard was a dedicated teacher who encouraged his progress. Paisley also joined the roster of the yearly Jamboree in the Hills at age 14, and for the next for six years entertained about 60,000 spectators annually in the hills outside of Wheeling.

In 1991 Paisley began his college career at West Liberty State College, West Virginia, but two years later he moved to Nashville, a decision spurred in part by encouragement from a professor. Paisley enrolled in a music business curriculum at Belmont University. After completing college internships at the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Atlantic Records, and Fitzgerald-Hartley Management, Paisley had a solid background and extensive experience in the music business by the time he graduated in 1995.

Paisley made many contacts during his various internships, including scouts from EMI Music Publishing. The connections proved invaluable, and within a week of graduation, he had signed a songwriting deal with EMI. Eventually one of his song demos attracted the attention of singer Alan Jackson, who requested a hold on the composition, called “I’m Gonna Miss Her.” Arista

For the Record…

Born on October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, WV. Education: Studied guitar with Clarence “Hank” Goddard; attended West Liberty State College, West Virginia, 1991-93; degree in music business, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993-95.

Played on WWVA’s Jamboree USA while still a teenager, 1980s; intern for ASCAP, Atlantic Records, and Fitzgerald-Hartley Management; signed songwriting contract with EMI, 1995; signed with Arista Records, c. 1998; released debut album, made Grand Ole Opry debut, 1999; inducted as a regular cast member, Grand Ole Opry, 2001; has appeared at international festivals in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Japan.

Awards: Academy of Country Music Award, Top New Male, 1999; Turner News Network and Country Music Television Country Weekly Music Awards, Song of the Year, Video of the Year, Discovery Award for “He Didn’t Have to Be,” 1999; Country Music Association Horizon Award, 2000; Country Music Association Hori zon of the Year Award for “Too Country,” 2001; Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriter of the Year, 2000-01; Country Music Association Connie B. Gay Award, 2002.

Member: American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP).

Addresses: Record company—Arista Nashville, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, http://www.rcalabelgroup.com. Management—JAG Management, Jimmy Gilmer, 41 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203, phone: (615) 726-3230. Publicist— Alien Brown, RCA Label Group, 1400 18th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212-2809, phone: (615) 301-4300. Website—Brad Paisley Official Website: http://www.bradpaisley.com.

Records, after hearing the demo, requested a longer demo and signed Paisley to a recording contract soon afterward.

Paisley began work on his first album, Who Needs Pictures, in 1998. He had already written a large repertoire of songs—enough for several albums. Opting not to hire a studio guitarist, he played all the parts himself and used his tour band in the studio despite the group’s limited recording experience. The album was under production and nearing completion when he decided to bring in a former college schoolmate, Frank Rogers, as producer. Rogers, a friend and musical collaborator of Paisley’s, had no experience as a major record producer, but Paisley had faith. The debut album was released on June 1, 1999.

“He Didn’t Have to Be,” a track from the album, lingered at the top of the Billboard country singles chart for two weeks, earning Paisley a special distinction as the only new country star to score a number-one hit on that chart that year. It was written by Paisley and Kelley Lovelace, a frequent collaborator and close friend, and was inspired by the relationship between Lovelace and his stepson. The song was honored with several award nominations, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year from the Country Music Association. The track won Song of the Year honors from Turner News Network and the Country Music Television Country Weekly Music Awards, which also gave it a nod in the running for Single of the Year. The Country Music Association recognized Paisley with a nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year. In other reviews, Don “Hoppy” Jeffrey of KFRG in San Bernadino, California, told Billboard that “Brad Paisley’s music is blazing a path and setting the pace for country music in the new millennium.” The album, an enhanced compact disc, was certified platinum in February of 2001.

On May 28, 1999, Paisley made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. After approximately 40 appearances, Paisley was inducted as a regular cast member on February 17, 2001, at age 28, the youngest member of the Opry.

Paisley says his albums are musical photographs, pictures of life that sometimes flow like movies. He called his 2001 follow-up album Part II, in an allusion to movie sequels. He was in fact so concerned with flow that he orchestrated the beginning of Part II to pick up the fading fiddles from the end of Who Needs Pictures. Released on May 28, Part II had risen to number three on the Billboard country albums chart by June 6 and was certified platinum by August. By the end of 2002 Part II had spent more than 70 weeks on the charts.

Part II features Paisley’s award-winning track, “Too Country,” written by Chuck Cannon and Bill Anderson. The song, which presents a warm, cozy image of country life: fried chicken, gravy, biscuits, and nostalgia, was named Vocal Event of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2001.

Although he prefers midsize venues, Paisley nonetheless opens for superstars such as Alan Jackson and Lonestar. In 1999 Buck Owens invited him to appear at his nightclub the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California, and in 2000 Paisley appeared at a number of festivals and fairs, including River Bend in Chattanooga, City Lites in Commerce, Georgia, West Virginia’s Jamboree in the Hills, the New Mexico State Fair, the West Virginia Intermountain Fair, and the Georgia Mountain Fair.

Paisley’s favorite instrument, according to Guitar Player, is a 1968 Fender Telecaster with a maple fret board decorated in a paisley pattern. After an endorsement deal with Gibson, he was able to add a Chet Atkins Gretsch Country Gentleman model to his collection. Paisley is all pro; he uses a Vox AC30 topboost, and meticulously adjusts even the voltage input before he plays. The license plates on his pickup truck read GTR-PLR.

In a Field & Stream interview, Paisley confided that he loves to fish for bass, and almost every other fish except trout. Furthermore, his “I’m Gonna Miss Her” (The Fishing Song) expresses the sentiment that fishing is more important than a relationship with any particular woman, a notion upon which he elaborates in the song’s video. He also loves to hunt, with both with bow and arrows and with rifle.

In 2000 Paisley secured a sponsorship deal with USA Meats not only for his own live concerts, but also for the Brad Paisley Foundation to benefit the Miracle Network, Network, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, the Opry Trust Fund, and the American Cancer Society.

Selected discography

(Contributor) Happy, Texas (soundtrack), Arista Nashville, 1999.

Who Needs Pictures, Arista, 1999.

(Contributor) Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, RCA, 2000.

Part II, Arista, 2001.

Sources

Periodicals

Amusement Business, June 5, 2000, p. 6.

Billboard, April 17, 1999, p. 25.

Country Music, December 2000/January 2001, p. 72.

Field & Stream, December 2002-January 2003, p. 50.

Guitar Player, October 1999, p. 39.

Online

“Brad Paisley,” All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll (February 11, 2003).

Brad Paisley Official Website, http://www.bradpaisley.com (March 24, 2003).

Gloria Cooksey

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paisley-brad

"Paisley, Brad." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paisley-brad

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Paisley, Brad

BRAD PAISLEY

Born: Glen Dale, West Virginia, 28 October 1972

Genre: Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Part II (2001)

Hit songs since 1990: "He Didn't Have to Be," "Me Neither"


With his easygoing manner and all-American good looks, Brad Paisley represents the new breed of gentle country singer popular in the 1990s and 2000s. Like his contemporaries Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, Paisley comes across as loyal and steadfasta sharp contrast to the hard-drinking, hell-raising country singers of the 1960s and 1970s. What saves Paisley from becoming another "hat act"a sardonic term for country artists whose appeal derives from tight jeans and a cowboy hatis his sensitive songwriting. On self-penned hits such as "He Didn't Have to Be" Paisley captures an honesty and directness that set him apart from other young performers. His songs of fatherhood and matrimonial loyalty are well conveyed by his attractive, if modest, voice and adept guitar playing.

Raised in the small West Virginia town of Glen Dale, Paisley received his first guitar, a present from his grandfather, at age eight. By his early teens he was performing regularly on "Jamboree USA," a weekly country radio program on WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. The experience led to steady work as an opening act for legendary country performers such as George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens. While studying music administration at Nashville's Belmont University, Paisley secured a songwriting deal with EMI, a major music publishing company, and began issuing demo recordings of his own work. In 1999 he signed with Arista Records and released his debut, Who Needs Pictures, an assured album that provides a good indication of the range of his talents.

Comprised mostly of his own songs, Who Needs Pictures sports a well-rounded selection of material and styles. On the opening track, "Long Sermon," Paisley demonstrates his engaging, homespun sense of humor: "There ain't nothin' that'll test your faith / Like a long sermon on a pretty Sunday." Other songs, such as "It Never Woulda Worked Out Anyway," recall the up-tempo "western swing" sound popularized in the 1990s by country star George Strait. The lighthearted "Sleepin' on the Foldout" tells the story of a man forced by his wife to spend a night on the porch. For tough country singers of the past such as Jones, this punishment might have been the result of drinking, gambling, or philandering. In Paisley's case, the worst thing he has done is to clean fish instead of visiting his wife's family. More henpecked than devilish, Paisley imbues modern country music with a refreshing dose of sweetness. Perhaps the album's finest moment is the hit "He Didn't Have to Be," in which Paisley's character moves from reminiscing fondly about his stepfather to thinking about his own fatherhood: "I hope I'm at least half the dad / That he didn't have to be." The song, sentimental but never cloying, points to Paisley's talent for expressing small details that speak to the broader passages of everyday life.

Now a bona fide country star, Paisley released his follow-up album, Part II, in 2001. On the whole Part II is as strong as its predecessor, although on certain tracks Paisley's emphasis on lyrical cuteness begins to sound hokey. On "Two People Fell in Love," for instance, he gets bogged down in trite details: "Right now at a picnic shelter down by Cain Creek / You'll find potato salad, hot dogs, and baked beans." On the other hand, the title track is one of his strongest efforts, a well-arranged ballad with a memorable theme built around sequels to popular Hollywood movies: "Why can't love be more like that / Where the best ones get a second chance." Paisley's voice has developed nicely, his lower range sounding deeper and more assured than on his debut. Like "The Nervous Breakdown" on his first album, Part II features an instrumental track, "Munster Rag," that showcases his nimble guitar playing. On this track, as well as "Too Country," a group performance with country legends Jones, Bill Anderson, and Buck Owens, Paisley proves that his youthful approach is balanced by a respect for the traditions of the past.

In contrast with country stars of previous generations, Brad Paisley avoids themes of heartbreak and loss, detailing instead with the joys and small disappointments of day-to-day life. At his best, Paisley evinces an honesty and sweetness that wrap his recordings with an appealing layer of humanity. If his music sometimes seems overly cheerful it is most likely because, as one of the most successful young performers in country music, Paisley has very little to complain about.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Who Needs Pictures (Arista, 1999); Part II (Arista, 2001).

WEBSITE:

www.bradpaisley.com.

david freeland

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paisley, Brad." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Paisley, Brad." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/paisley-brad

"Paisley, Brad." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/paisley-brad

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Paisley, Brad

Paisley, Brad

Career
Sidelights
Selected Discography
Sources

Country singer

B orn October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, WV; son of Doug (a department of transportation worker) and Sandy (a teacher) Paisley; married Kimberly Williams (an actress), March 15, 2003; children: William Huckleberry. Education: Studied guitar with Clarence “Hank” Goddard; attended West Liberty State College, WV, 1991-93; Belmont University, Nashville, TN, B.B.A., 1995.

Addresses: Management—JAG Management, Jimmy Gilmer, 41 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203. Record company—Arista Nashville, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. Web sitehttp://www.bradpaisley.com .

Career

P layed on WWVA’s Jamboree USA radio program, 1980s; intern, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Atlantic Records, and Fitzgerald-Hartley Management, 1990s; signed songwriting contract with EMI, 1995; signed with Arista Nashville, 1998; released debut album, Who Needs Pictures, 1999; Grand Ole Opry debut, 1999; inducted as a regular cast member, Grand Ole Opry, 2001; has appeared at international festivals in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Japan; “Bonfires and Amplifiers” tour for album 5th Gear, 2007.

Awards: Top new male vocalist, Academy of Country Music, 1999; song of the year, for “He Didn’t Have to Be,” TNN Music Awards, 2000; video of the year, for “He Didn’t Have to Be,” TNN Music Awards, 2000; Discovery Award for “He Didn’t Have to Be,” TNN Music Awards, 2000; Horizon Award, Country Music Association, 2000; vocal event of the year award for “Too Country,” Country Music Association, 2001; international songwriter of the year, Nashville Songwriters Association, 2000-01; Connie B. Gay Award, Country Music Association, 2002; album of the year, for Time Well Wasted, Academy of Country Music, 2005; musical event of the year for “When I Get Where I’m Going,” Country Music Association, 2006; album of the year, for Time Well Wasted, Country Music Association, 2006; top male vocalist, Academy of Country Music, 2006; male vocalist of the year, Country Music Association, 2007; music video of the year, for “Online,” Country Music Association, 2007; Grammy Award for best country instrumental performance, for “Throttleneck,” National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 2008.

Sidelights

C ountry music star Brad Paisley is well known for bring traditional styles back to country. Instead of following the trend where many stars in the country world record their songs as crossover numbers for pop radio stations, Paisley sticks to his originals. Not only a singer, Paisley excels at guitar, and has also worked as a songwriter, writing many of the numbers he and his band—most of whom have been together for 12 years—perform.

But despite his seeming rapid rise from obscurity to stardom at his first album’s release in 1999, Paisley has been in the industry for a long time. It all started with his grandfather. “I got my first guitar when I was eight years old,” Paisley told an interviewer for the Virginian Pilot. “My grandfather, who died in 1987, gave it to me. He was the best friend I ever had. Two months before he died, I opened for the Judds—he got to see that. It was like giving Moses a look at the Promised Land. He knew that guitar was the best gift I ever received.” The two spent hours together as Paisley was growing up: His grandfather, Warren Jarvis, was a railroad worker who worked the night shift, giving him time to spend with his grandson during the day. They listened to country music, and Jarvis began teaching him how to play guitar. Though at first Paisley was reluctant, preferring sports and more active endeavors, he took to the instrument. “I kind of fought it for a while, ’cause at eight you’d rather play sports or do anything other than something that hurts your hand,” Paisley told Melissa Block on All Things Considered. “But the thing that kept me going was knowing how bad he wanted me to do that. I think he enjoyed it so much he wanted me to be able to have that in my life. He changed my life in a way no one ever will again.” Soon he and Jarvis were playing everywhere they could, “anywhere the relatives wouldn’t complain,” Paisley quipped in People.

Jarvis gave him a love of country music, teaching him all of the old Buck Owens numbers. “I had to do the opposite of any other kid,” Paisley explained in Entertainment Weekly, “I had to go study rock and roll. I’d go ‘Oh yeah, I love AC/DC’—and then I would go buy it.” While country music remained his love, he also practiced songs by U2 to perform for his friends, and he enjoyed jazz and sang gospel in church with his family. His first song, written when he was 12, was “Born on Christmas Day.” According to a contributor for the Country Music Television Web site, “His junior high school principal heard it and asked him to do it at the next Rotary Club meeting.” Paisley, always eager to perform—he quipped in People that one of the nice things about coming from a small town was, “If you wanna be a star, they’ll make you one”—accepted, and in the audience was a radio programming director, who then invited him to perform on Jamboree USA, a popular country radio program. The performance was a success, and Paisley was invited to become a regular on the program, where he appeared steadily for eight years, often opening for such country stars as Little Jimmy Dickens and Roy Clark. He became the youngest member elected to Jamboree USA’s Hall of Fame.

Along with performing on the radio, Paisley studied guitar with local musician Clarence “Hank” Goddard, who invited Paisley to perform with his band. “Hank would let me play a solo, and I’d butcher it, but he’d smile and give me encouragement,” Paisley recounted in Guitar Player. “He made me work on my scales, and play solos . That’s when I really started working on my lead playing.” His formal education began at West Liberty College, a local school, but a professor encouraged him to follow his interests to Belmont University in Nashville, where he could study music business. At first, Paisley was reluctant to leave his small town, but once in Nashville, he settled in, meeting fellow students Frank Rogers (who would produce his first album), Chris DuBois, and Kelley Lovelace, who have both co-written songs on Paisley’s albums.

During college, Paisley played on demos and worked as a songwriter, earning money and starting to make inroads in the industry. His work was noticed, and he was signed by Arista Nashville in 1998. A year later, he released his first album, Who Needs Pictures, bringing on Rogers as his producer despite the fact that Rogers had never produced an album, and playing with his stage band, a trend uncommon in country music, when most singers work with a band more familiar with recording in a studio. “He Didn’t Have to Be,” a single he co-wrote with Lovelace, topped the Billboard charts, and the album went platinum. A series of awards thrust Paisley into the spotlight—a light he made a point to share with his band. The humble entertainer was overwhelmed by his sudden celebrity: “It’s a good kind of feeling, but it’s also a whirlwind to some extent, but it’s fun,” he told the Los Angeles Daily News. “It beats working, that’s for sure.”

In 1999, Paisley was also invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, and he began doing as many shows there as his schedule would allow—a trend that echoed his more traditional sound. “Many Hot Country performers have been criticized for not playing the Opry, and there’s some concern for its future,” wrote S. Renee Dechert in Popular Music and Society. “Paisley, however, is a regular.” So regular, in fact, that his second album, Part II, featured a track of Paisley performing “The Old Rugged Cross” at the Opry, introduced by Little Jimmy Dickens. His performances there in 1999 also made him, at 27, the youngest cast member.

Part II, released in 2001, also featured Paisley’s third No. 1 hit, “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishing Song).” The song tells the story of a woman who gives her boyfriend an ultimatum: her or the fish.After choosing the fish, he says he is sure he will miss her, but is easily distracted by the fish biting his line. Not only did the song capture Paisley’s sense of humor, which helped him earn a reputation as a comedic songwriter, the music video also featured actress Kimberly Williams, who Paisley married in 2003.

Part II did not capture any awards, nor did Paisley’s third album, Mud on the Tires, though he earned several nominations. “I’m enjoying this losing streak,” Paisley said in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2006. “Nobody dislikes you when you lose, and nobody’s looking to pick you off.” Paisley was the most-nominated male country artist at that year’s Grammy awards, but he took no awards home. That trend changed with his fourth album, Time Well Wasted, which was named Album of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. Paisley’s serious numbers and comedic hits both won praise, and Entertainment Weekly contributor Chris Willman noted, “he’s had more successfully comic songs than anyone in country since the 1970s.”

In 2007, Paisley hit the road on his “Bonfires and Amplifiers” tour, and his fifth full album (not including a Christmas album) went gold, producing another two No. 1 hits. He returned home as often as he could to spend time with his family’s newest addition, William Huckleberry Paisley, in either the Paisleys’ Los Angeles home or his preferred home of Franklin, Tennessee. “Brad’s a great dad,” said wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley in People. ”It’s really fun to leave him with Huck. No matter what happens, when I ask how it went, the first thing Brad says is, ‘Oh, we had a ball.’”

Friends have said that they would call Paisley a workaholic if he were not having so much fun. “He’s extremely intelligent and a very quick learner,” said Paisley’s tour designer Scott Scovill in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He can grab animation software and start doing animation . For fun, he’ll sit down and edit his videos or his TV special.” Critics have noted this sense of fun in his music as well. “If Brad Paisley weren’t a country superstar, he could be a comedian,” a critic for Blender magazine was quoted as having said in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Along with his comedy, country veteran Buck Owens praised Paisley’s nostalgic sound. “Brad’s the real thing,” he said in People. “There’s no pretense.”

Paisley attributes some of his success to being able to combine traditional country styles and themes with rock and jazz inspirations, as well as not taking his music too seriously. “I think levity is very necessary in our modern world,” he said in Entertainment Weekly. For Paisley, “it probably comes from a love of the old country music, because this was such a big part of our format at one time.” He also remembers his roots. “I’ve spent many years with my band playing little fairs on flatbed trailers,” he said in Guitar Player. “We’d show up, and no one knew who we were, so we’d work the whole time to try to convince people not to leave.” Despite, or perhaps because of, his fame, he keeps that same attitude in his live performances: dedication to giving people a good show. He told People, “I feel more nervous than I’ve been in my career. There still isn’t a night when I don’t worry if people will come [to a show].” But despite his nerves, he and his band continue to love their jobs. “There isn’t a single night when we walk out there and hate our job,” Paisley said in Guitar Player. “I am so thankful we’ve gotten to this level. It’s ridiculous we get paid for this . It still blows my mind.”

Selected Discography

Who Needs Pictures, Arista Nashville, 1999.

Part II, Arista Nashville, 2001.

Mud on the Tires, Arista Nashville, 2003.

Time Well Wasted, Arista Nashville, 2005.

A Brad Paisley Christmas, Arista Nashville, 2006.

5th Gear, Arista Nashville, 2007.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Musicians, vol. 42, Gale Group (Farmington Hills, MI), 2003.

Periodicals

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), May 3, 2000, p. L3. Entertainment Weekly, August 24, 2007, p. 27.

Guitar Player, October 1999, p. 39; December 2007, pp. 78(13).

People, October 9, 2000, p. 87; November 14, 2005, p. 91; November 2006, p. 52; Fall 2007, p. 38.

Popular Music and Society, October 2003, pp. 412-13.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), August 19, 2007, p. 1F.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 23, 2006, p. 5.

Teen People, August 1, 2001, p. 117.

Virginian Pilot, February 3, 2000, p. W5.

Online

“Brad’s Biography,” Brad Paisley’s Web site, http://www.bradpaisley.com/site.php?content=bio (February 22, 2008).

Transcripts

All Things Considered, #4930009, National Public Radio, September 29, 2005.

“Biography: Brad Paisley,” Country Music Television, http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/paisley_brad/bio.jhtml (February 22, 2008).

“Brad Paisley,” Biography Resource Center Online, Gale Group, 2002.

—Alana Joli Abbott

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paisley, Brad." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Paisley, Brad." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/journals/culture-magazines/paisley-brad

"Paisley, Brad." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/journals/culture-magazines/paisley-brad

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.