Contemporary country singer/songwriter Brad Paisley was born October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, West Virginia; given his first guitar at age eight, he delivered his first public performance at church two years later. With his fifty-something guitar teacher Clarence "Hank" Goddard and two of the older man's seasoned musician buddies, the teenaged Paisley formed his first band, the C-Notes, and at age 12 began writing his own material. After performing in front of the local Rotary Club, he was invited to appear on Wheeling station WWVA's famed Saturday night broadcast Jamboree USA. Paisley's debut was so well received that he was invited to join the program full-time, and in the years to follow he opened for the likes of the Judds, Roy Clark, and Little Jimmy Dickens. He later attended Nashville's Belmont University, serving an internship with ASCAP; the contacts Paisley made there helped him land a songwriting deal with EMI, and he also appeared on countless demos.
Signing to Arista, he issued his debut solo album, Who Needs Pictures, in 1999. The record produced two chart-topping singles in "He Didn't Have to Be," an ode to loving stepfathers, and "We Danced," and also earned generally positive reviews for its diversity of country styles. In the meantime, Paisley recorded a duet with Chely Wright, "Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife," for the Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry compilation; the two later collaborated on several songs for Wright's Never Love You Enough album. The sequel to Paisley's debut, Part II, was released in 2001 and promptly returned him to the Top Five with "Two People Fell in Love." "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)" gave Paisley his third chart-topper, and "Wrapped Around" fell one spot short of becoming his fourth. "I Wish You'd Stay" became the fourth Top Ten hit from the record in early 2003.
At the beginning of August 2005, Paisley put together a short "director's commentary" preview of his next album for his fan base to download. The full album, Time Well Wasted, appeared two weeks later and narrowly missed the top of the album charts, though it did hit number one on the country charts. In 2006 Brad Paisley Christmas, a collection of both originals and covers, came out, followed by 5th Gear in 2007, which included the ubiquitous "Ticks," a sure future novelty classic. An album of mostly guitar instrumentals (Paisley's excellent guitar playing is a big part of his appeal), Play, followed in 2008, with the big country vocal hit "Waitin' on a Woman" added in as a "bonus" track. By now poised at the very top of the commercial country world, Paisley released American Saturday Night in 2009. American Saturday Night was greeted by Paisley's strongest reviews yet and generated the hit singles "Then," "Welcome to the Future," and "Water." Paisley bought some time with the 2010 release Hits Alive -- a double-disc package divided into one live set and one collection of hits -- and then returned with his seventh collection of new songs, This Is Country Music, in May 2011. - All Music Guide