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Big Brother

Brad Paisley
By Andy Argyrakis

The weather is stormy in California with wind gusts in between cool drizzle as young country superstar Brad Paisley is about to take the stage.  But about an hour before his set, Paisley sounds refreshed, energetic, and excited about his upcoming show over the phone, despite the uncomfortable conditions. In fact it's that positive and determined attitude that has brought Paisley to open up for Alan Jackson in Illinois just a few days earlier, then fly out to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, before this breezy stop at an outdoor California venue. Paisley seems happy to talk to me and even is apologetic for canceling out on our previously scheduled interview backstage at the Alan Jackson show. "Life has been almost a little too busy to enjoy lately," the 27 year old star confesses. "But things are always eventful in my life and I see that busyness as a privilege."

Paisley's faith in God has also been a main source of his sustenance and rather than getting a big head when the accolades come, he's humbled about it. One recent privilege for Paisley was to win awards like the 2000 "Top New Male" trophy during the presentations for the 35th annual "Academy of Country Music Awards," as well as three other nominations that night.  But awards and television appearances are not what Paisley attributes the success of his current, gold selling album "Who Needs Pictures" to. Rather he feels that country fans want to hear traditional based music without all of the flash in glam associated with the country/rock movement often taken advantage of by his peers.  "I'm a very loyal person to country's roots and my style is very rootsy and honest," he says.  "Heroes to me are legends like Buck Owens or George Jones and I really look up to people like that as artists." In fact, his gigantic single from the project, "He Didn't have to Be," combines the elements of those past greats, while telling a good story mixed with high quality instrumentation and a retro feel.  "I hope to accomplish being consistent and put on music that people can relate to," he says.  "I want to stay grounded traditionally with my sound and lyrics while other artists seek to expand the country horizon.

My responsibility is to keep an anchor for old music and elders that sang it." That's not to say that Paisley hasn't captured a younger audience as well.  He's been accepted from teens to old folks alike, thanks to opening stints for such stars as Jackson and Mark Chestnut. "My goal is to musically achieve what I am proud of," Paisley adds.  "I hope that reaches fans of all ages and I think they will see that I seek to be an artist who makes the best music they can make.  I'm also one who seeks to be true to myself and the musical legacy which I believe in."

Most importantly, Paisley sticks true to the faith he's believed in all his life and is able to show that through those he comes in contact with.  "To me, the best way to witness is to not spend all your time explaining to them how wrong they are on everything they are doing, but to show them how your life is working and how much peace you have," he told Christian Single. "Jesus was never the least bit judgmental. I never got that feeling in reading my Bible that He ever looked at anybody with anything less than compassion and total understanding. That's what people want."

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