Music: Brad Paisley

A Country Music singer known for his hot guitar playing and his sense of humor. Originally from Wheeling, West Virginia, Paisley began playing professionally at age twelve in his native state, eventually scoring a radio gig and later a songwriting contract.

At age 27, he signed to Arista Nashville in 1999. His debut single "Who Needs Pictures" brought him up the charts, followed swiftly by his first Number One, "He Didn't Have to Be." Both were included on his highly successful debut album Who Needs Pictures. Since that album, Paisley has been no stranger to award shows, singles charts and album sales. Between 2005 and 2009, he scored ten straight #1 hits, shattering the record for the longest hot streak of chart-toppers since the 1990s. Now he's best known for his controversial song with LL Cool J, "Accidental Racist", featuring both of them trying to heal racial barriers but instead coming across as being, well, accidentally racist.

Paisley sings a diverse range of music: his albums will often include plenty of tongue-in-cheek novelty numbers and comedy sketches alongside more serious ballads and quite a few stripes in between. Naturally, he gets plenty of opportunities to show off his guitar chops as well. Of particular interest to Tropers may be Paisley's knack for commentary on contemporary popular culture and, while he hasn't yet outed himself as a sci-fi geek in any of his songs, he certainly seems to know a great deal about their Tropes and fan culture—refer to "Welcome to the Future" and "Online," for example.

Paisley and his now-former producer Frank Rogers also own the Sea Gayle label, whose roster includes Jerrod Niemann.


  • Who Needs Pictures (1999)
  • Part II (2001)
  • Mud on the Tires (2003)
  • Time Well Wasted (2005)
  • Brad Paisley Christmas (2006)
  • 5th Gear (2007)
  • Play (2008)
  • American Saturday Night (2009)
  • This Is Country Music (2011)
  • Wheelhouse (2013)
  • Moonshine in the Trunk (2014)

Tropes present:

  • Anti-Hero: The narrator of "Ticks" may be one he's using "I'd like to check you for ticks" as a pickup line, for crying out loud.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: LL Cool J's turn on "Accidental Racist" comes off as this to many.
  • Basement-Dweller: The subject of "Online," a nerdy loser who claims to be a supermodel online.
  • Best Years of Your Life: Invoked in "Letter to Me," where Brad ponders what he would put in a letter to his 17-year-old self. He would say that those are indeed not the best years of your life.
  • Broken Streak: Between 2005 and 2009, he had an impressive streak of ten consecutive #1 hits on the country charts. This included a five-straight streak for singles off his 5th Gear album, tying Rodney Crowell's Diamonds & Dirt for the country album with the most #1 hits (although one of Paisley's songs was a re-recording that was only added to later presses of the album). Then in 2009, after the mega-hit "Then", both "Welcome to the Future" and "American Saturday Night" stalled out at #2. (He's had four more #1's since.)
    • Another example is 2013's "I Can't Change the World", his first single to not even reach Top 20. (It peaked at #22.)
  • Call-and-Response Song: On "Remind Me", Brad sings the first verse and chorus, with Carrie doing the "remind me"s on the chorus. The pattern then reverses for the second verse and chorus, and they trade off for the rest of the song.
  • Cheap Heat: Occurs in "American Saturday Night." When he sings the song live, the ending line of "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night" replaces "New York" with whatever town he's playing.
    • When performing "Mud on the Tires" during the Good Morning America pre-election Whistle Stop Tour in 2008, he replaced the line "I'm holding the keys to a brand-new Chevrolet" with "I'm holding the keys to a brand-new Dodge today"; this overlaps with Executive Meddling.
  • Christmas Songs: Brad Paisley Christmas.
  • Chronological Album Title: Part II and 5th Gear.
  • Curse Cut Short: Occurs in "Cornography":
    Little Jimmy Dickens: That woman sure chaps my...
    George Jones: Ask her out.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: "Come on Over Tonight" takes this attitude toward falling in love. "Come on over tonight, we'll sit on the swing / Watch the pigs fly by, flapping their brand new wings..."
    • Also a good example on "I'll Take You Back".
  • Dead Sparks: "Remind Me" is all about this.
  • Do Wrong, Right: A gag near the end of the video for "Celebrity" has a character inspired by Simon Cowell (played by William Shatner) invoke this trope. He stops Brad in the parking lot, and the following exchange occurs:
    Shatner: Hey! Where's my... Hey! Get out of my car!
    Paisley: I was... I was just-
    Shatner: Get out of my car! It's a valuable car!
    Paisley: It's really nice...
    Shatner: (checks information on car dashboard) You put 200 miles on my car!
    Paisley: Second gear... sticks a little bit.
    Shatner: You got it into second gear?
    Paisley: Yeah?
    Shatner: How'd you do that?
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In "Mr. Policeman," he taunts the cop chasing him: "There's no way you're keeping up with me / Just go on back to Krispy Kreme."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The subjects of "Whiskey Lullaby."
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Before his first single, he wrote David Kersh's "Another You", a Top 5 hit in 1996. He also wrote songs for Tracy Byrd and David Ball.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: "Penguin, James Penguin" is a cut from his Christmas album.
  • Exiled to the Couch: "Sleeping on the Foldout": He's exiled for claiming he had to work to get out of going with her to visit her family, then going fishing instead. And then "telling her the whole staff spent the day out on the lake."
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out "Me Neither": A guy at a bar keeps trying to pick up this girl, and she keeps turning him down, so he pretends that he didn't really want to either and he was just testing her. In the end, he's finally ready to give up.
    Do you think it's time for me to end this song?
    [dead stop; silence]
    Me neither!
    [big long instrumental to finish up]
  • The Four Chords of Pop: "Remind Me" uses I-vi-V-IV on the verses.
  • Greatest Hits Album: A notable aversion. He fought for a very long time against releasing one because he's not a fan of them. The label finally compromised and made it a 2-disc compilation with some live tracks.
  • Heavy Meta: "Too Country" and "This Is Country Music".
  • Hypocritical Humor / Self-Deprecation: Brad loves to poke fun at himself in his live shows. For example, walking up to the edge of the stage in the middle of "I'm Still A Guy," where fans are holding up their phones, borrowing a few of them to carefully take pics of himself on and handing them back, then starting up the third verse:
    These days there's dudes taking selfies...
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Referenced in "I'm Still a Guy".
  • Idiosyncratic Album Theming: The first three albums had a gospel song as the final track, and albums two through five had interstitial skits.
  • Insurance Fraud: "The Cigar Song" is about a man insuring his Cuban cigars, then smoking them and making a claim based on the fact that they were destroyed in a fire. It works, until he gets arrested for arson.
  • Kids Rock: "Ain't Nothin' Like," a cut from Mud on the Tires, may take the cake for the shrillest kids' chorus ever recorded.
  • Lampshade Wearing: "Alcohol" has the line "And I'll bet you a drink or two / That I can make you / Put that lampshade on your head." Even funnier in the video, where "Little" Jimmy Dickens walks onscreen and dons a lampshade in the most deliberate way possible.
  • List Song: "The World" and "She's Everything". The former lists what others may think of the lover that's "the world" to him, and the latter lists various objects that are metaphors for her.
  • New Sound Album: Bordering on Genre Adultery at times.
    • For his first two or three studio albums, Paisley sang unbridled neotraditional country music with tinges of bluegrass and gospel. While he's never abandoned his traditional roots, between the release of the Mud on the Tires and Time Well Wasted he seemed to adopt a more mainstream-friendly sound with an increased emphasis on his electric guitar playing.
    • Play. Not only was it mostly an instrumental album, it was also an instrumental album that explored his usually-hidden rock influences.
    • Wheelhouse has Brad abandoning Frank Rogers in favor of doing the production himself all the more of a notable move, as unlike most artists, Paisley refused to co-produce his own material. In particular, "Southern Comfort Zone" seems to suggest more of a move towards alternative rock influences.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Alcohol", sung from the POV of alcohol itself.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: he released the "Cowboy Christmas Song," with the word Christmas getting bleeped, then the word White, finally leading them to sing the original version, ignoring the bleeps.
  • The Power of Love: "Two People Fell in Love" comments on the various impacts that two people falling in love can have on the world.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: "I'm Still A Guy" is either a Deconstruction of this trope, or evidence that he's unaware of its existence. The song is largely about the narrator feeling persecuted because he still holds onto traditionally masculine traits while the culture turns against them, and it's things like hunting and fishing that make you strange.
  • Record Producer: From 1999 to 2012, Paisley's sole producer was Frank Rogers. Though otherwise unknown at the time, Rogers has become a fairly prolific producer.
  • Rerelease the Song: Done with "Waitin' on a Woman", an album track from Time Well Wasted that got re-recorded and released only one album later.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist / Solo Duet: "Born on Christmas Day," a cut from his Christmas album, includes portions of a recording he made of the song at age 12. At the end, he sings a harmony over the childhood recording.
  • Shout-Out: Also leaning a bit on the Heavy Meta side, "Old Alabama" is a shout-out to the 1980s country band Alabama. Near the end, they even sing the bridge to their song "Mountain Music", which is sampled throughout.
  • Signature Style: His songs are usually very guitar-heavy with rapid-fire note runs on the solos and tight, clean production (except for the more bombastic production of Wheelhouse, which he produced by himself instead of handing all production duties to Frank Rogers). Most of his songs have an undercurrent of humor, even when he's being serious and introspective (e.g. "Letter to Me").
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Subverted in "Southern Comfort Zone" while he does sing the praises of the South, he also says that he's happy to see the rest of the world.
  • Talky Bookends: Occurs in many of his videos.
  • That's What She Said: He got away with one at the 2010 CMA Awards after co-host Carrie Underwood mentioned that Blake Shelton's engagement ring for Miranda Lambert was "so big and perfect".
  • Technology Marches On:invoked Referenced heavily in "Welcome to the Future".
  • Visual Pun: Brad plays a paisley-patterned Telecaster.
  • Vocal Evolution: Over time, his voice has gotten much flatter and softer, compared to the fuller tone and slight twang he had early on.