Since his debut on Austin City Limits in 2000, Brad Paisley has filled his shelves with multi-platinum albums, Grammy Award nominations and numerous Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards. Throughout his career, the West Virginia-born, singer/songwriter/guitarist has stayed true to the sounds of traditional country while adding his own modern twist.
“I don’t want to be one of those artists where someone says, ‘All the songs sound the same.’ I want to be one of the artists where people never know what might be coming next,” he said. “You’re going to write about love and about death and the other big topics, but the fun part is finding a new way to do it — to find a new way to talk about the subjects we all experience or care about.”
He returns to Austin City Limits for his third appearance on the show with a new CD, 5th Gear. Billboard wrote of Paisley’s fifth studio release, “as always his greatest trick is that he’s modern while being proudly traditionalist. … Even if he’s from West Virginia, this is the sound of modern-day Bakersfield and he proves that this lean country sound never grows old.”
Paisley has kept the sound fresh by focusing on songwriting that is both humorous and heartfelt. “I think songwriting is at its best when it’s a reflection of life, and that’s my goal with my songs,” he said. “Anything that has something humorous in it is because I’ve seen something like that and it tickled me. At the same time, anything that’s serious or deep, it comes from something I’ve been through or observed and wanted to write about it.”