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. 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."
That's one reason he's repeatedly remained at the forefront in the number of awards and categories in which he's competing at both the CMA and ACM shows. His four 2006 Grammy nominations led the country field, and since the release of his first album in 1999, Paisley's five CMA wins are the most of any new artist to emerge during that time. Moreover, his five No. 1 hits indicate his consistent success at radio, but the number is even more striking when realizing that several of his career-making fan favorites - "Whiskey Lullaby," "Alcohol," "Celebrity," "Little Moments" - aren't among those five. Along the way, Paisley's four Arista Nashville albums have all been certified Platinum or Double Platinum, with total sales well in excess of six million copies, while his two most recent discsMud on the Tires and Time Well Wasteddebuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Time Well Wasted also ended its first week at No. 2 on the pop sales chart with 192,000 copies sold, while Mud on the Tires likewise launched in the pop Top 10.