I need to preface this week's discussion by telling you I'm a huge Brad
Paisley fan. Have been since Ken Rush, then with Arista Nashville,
paid me a visit at KCYY (Y100)/San Antonio and played some tracks from
Paisley's debut CD, "Who Needs Pictures." I loved the sense
of humor of "It Never Would've Worked Out Anyway" and "Long
Sermon" mixed with the sensitivity of "He Didn't Have to Be"
and "We Danced." I was a believer right away and added "Who
Needs Pictures" out of the box, which got me a huge talkin'-to at
the time. (Remember the company I worked for?)
Frankly, it was worth it, because as we've all watched Brad Paisley's
steady career trajectory, we've seen he was, and certainly is, an artist
with long-term value who still hasn't peaked yet. Brad participated in
several charitable concert events when I was back at KZLA, and that further
endeared me to him. When I say "participated," I mean he played
a full-band show at absolutely no charge, and we donated every penny of
ticket revenue to homeless children in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Yes, I'm a Brad Paisley fan.
I recently interviewed Paisley for a feature that will appear in tomorrow's
R&R as part of our CMA coverage. He's nominated for
five awards, more than any other artist except for George Strait, and
that's pretty damn impressive company. The interview was originally scheduled
for 15 minutes, but we got to talking and finally I asked him how he was
doing on time, because I was trying not to become the thing that wouldn't
leave."Well, I go on stage at 9:30," Paisley told me, "so
I guess we're OK right now." That was at 2:30 in the afternoon.
I'm a fan of Brad Paisley, the person and the artist. I heard his most
recent album, "5th Gear," months ago and think it's his best
album yet. Over the years, Paisley has balanced that wry, intelligent,
Roger Miller-like sense of humor, with strong, heartfelt ballads that
touch each of us. He's found not one but two signature sounds to draw
from, and both are equally effective. His latest song is called "Letter
to Me," and I just can't imagine anyone listening to this tune without
reflecting on their own life for a minute or two. I also can't imagine
why anybody would hesitate to play this song right away in a high-profile
rotation. You see, Paisley has a lot of fans out there, and we expect
to hear him early and often on country radio.