Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 62

BRAD PAISLEY

White-Hot Country Slinger
By Wolf Marshall

B

rad Paisley is a world-famous superstar,
and a badass pickin'-n-grinnin' guitar
shredder. The latter has been apparent
for some time - those are his roots showing.
But there's more to his story than just hot
licks and Tele-fueled pyrotechnics.
Paisley's musical journey is a tale of hard
work, determination, perseverance, and
small miracles, a retelling of the American

Dream with matching soundtrack. Paisley
f launts the persona of a post-modern country hero complete with white Stetson hat.
Bradley Douglas Paisley, only child of
schoolteacher Sandy and highway administrator Doug, was born in Glen Dale, West
Virginia, on October 28, 1972. He was introduced to music by his maternal grandfather,
Warren "Papaw" Jarvis, an amateur guitarist

VINTAGE GUITAR

62

December 2016

and admirer of Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.
Papaw encouraged Brad and for Christmas
gave the eight-year-old his first guitar, a
Sears Silvertone electric with matching case/
amp. Young Brad soon surpassed Papaw,
brief ly endured a disinterested neighborhood teacher, and finally received advanced
tutelage from local legend Clarence "Hank"
Goddard. There, he learned requisite hot
country-guitar techniques, bluegrass classics like "Salty Dog" and jazz standards like
"Cherokee." On his mostly-instrumental
album, Play, Paisley celebrated Goddard's
mentorship in "More Than a Song."
At age 10, Paisley turned pro when master
and pupil formed his first band, appearing
regionally with Goddard's veteran sidekicks.
He wrote his first song at 12 and performed
it on a live radio broadcast of the "Wheeling
Jamboree USA" - a venue second only to
Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. By 13, he was
the star of Brad Paisley and the C-Notes, a
front-kid leading an old-timer rhythm section, a definitive case of youth and energy
meeting age and experience. By 16, he was
appearing on the Jamboree practically every
week while honing his craft and business
skills.
An odd product of the times, Paisley
was an equal-opportunity guitar nerd who
could rip through Van Halen's "Eruption"
as well as Jerry Reed's "The Claw." In high
school, the country-rock boom popularized
by Garth Brooks provided a new direction for aspiring pickers. He repurposed
his Van-Halen-inspired shredding and
guitar-dominated conception, applied it
to the changing country market, and kept
the recipe.
In 1993, he enrolled in Nashville's Belmont
University, concentrating on studies relating
to the music industry, while interning at
ASCAP, Fitzgerald Hartley management,
and Atlantic Records. He earned a business
degree and learned about studio recording.
Through ASCAP he secured a songwriter
contract with EMI and met producer Frank
Rogers along with collaborators Kelley
Lovelace and Chris DuBois. His writing
led to hits for David Kersh and David Ball.
Anticipating a contract, he began avidly writing and stockpiling tunes, and performed
regularly at songwriter showcases.
He signed with Arista and in '99 debuted
with Who Needs Pictures, which earned in
a Horizon trophy from the Country Music
Association. In 2001, he received a Grammy
for Best New Artist and was inducted into the
Grand Ole Opry. He has been on an upward
trajectory ever since, with 12 albums certi-

Brad Paisley: Jeff Lipsky.

COLUMN Fretprints


http://youtu.be/h_u9kc3ts_8?list=PL1293D4CB8DBFF1B9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 1
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