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Brad Paisley


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Born October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, Marshall County, country musician Brad Paisley began playing music as a child. Encouraged by his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, Paisley by age eight was studying guitar with local musician Clarence ‘‘Hank’’ Goddard. Two years later Paisley fronted the C-Notes, a band of older musicians including Goddard. At age 14 Paisley became the youngest-ever regular cast member of the Jamboree USA radio show on Wheeling station WWVA. Remaining with that show for the next eight years, he also opened local concerts for such visiting country music acts as Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, and the Judds.

By the mid-1990s, Paisley had moved to Nashville, signed a songwriting contract with EMI Music Publishing, and made several demo recordings. Signing with Avista Records, he recorded his debut album, Who Needs Pictures (1999), which featured several of his own songs. The title song rose to the Top Ten on the country chart and another song, ‘‘He Didn’t Have to Be,’’ rose to number one. Many fans of traditional country music viewed Paisley as the most promising newcomer in mainstream country music. In 2000, the Academy of Country Music named Paisley ‘‘Top New Male Vocalist’’ and the Country Music Association gave him the Horizon Award.

Brad Paisley joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2001. By 2010, Paisley had amassed more than 60 awards, including three Grammys (one in 2008 and two in 2009). He had released nine albums as of 2013. Paisley is considered one of the most progressive country music artists performing today. In his 2013 album, Wheelhouse, he addressed several controversial issues, including racism, spousal abuse, Southern provincialism, and social activism.

Paisley played at President Barack Obama’s inauguration and has performed at the White House twice. Paisley and his wife, actress and singer Kimberly Williams, were married in 2003 and live in Franklin, Tennessee, with their two sons.

Written by Ted Olson