Over the course of four albums, including the most recent top-seller, Time Well Wasted, Brad Paisley has grown from country music’s favorite young traditionalist to its most unpredictable hitmaker and most slyly exciting concert performer.
At first, we marveled at the breadth of his talents as a multi-threat singer, songwriter, guitarist, performer. Now we marvel at the breadth of Paisley’s vision: Who could have foreseen that an artist so rooted in tradition could succeed in taking the music he loves in so many creative directions and do so with such entertaining style?
His sold-out headlining concerts reveal similar surprises: From the computer-animated cartoons he creates and presents during his shows to the amusing way he leads his crack band through their breakneck instrumentals, Paisley broadens the idea of how country music can be presented and how music can hold an audience’s attention in a multi-media age.
“When I sit down with a guitar to write a song, or when going into a recording studio, the focus is really on one thing: ‘How will this song work on stage night after night?’ I think about that every time I write something and every time I record a song,” Paisley says.
Mostly, he stays fresh by challenging himself to keep coming up with something new and unexpected—whether it’s on record or on stage. His genius comes in how he continues to stretch his artistry while maintaining an easygoing, everyman quality that connects with his audience and invites them to join him on his journey.
For him, the variety and innovations serve one goal: To entertain his fans. “Every move is about creating an enjoyable experience for the audience,” says the laid-back West Virginian. “We want to take them on a musical ride that has a lot of different emotions and textures to it.”