Hard to Be a Road Dog

Fans Inspire Paisley/Wright Duet

Brad Paisley, a Country Music Association Award nominee for Male Vocalist of the Year, says being single on the road isn’t always as great as it seems. Yes, there is the continuously revolving buffet of eager females to choose from, but there is also the inevitable question from inquiring fans.

“All these nice, senior-citizen, older women come up and go, ‘Why are you still single? I’ve got a granddaughter for you,’” he says. “Well, I’m single because a career can be enough for awhile. I think at some point that will change, but right now I can’t imagine having a wife.”

Such was the inspiration for “Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife,” a song he co-wrote with Chely Wright. The two became friends last fall and began writing together shortly after. Ironically, they compete against each other this year in the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award category.

“We share a common love of what we do, and we also share a love of the Opry,” Wright says. “He and I are in a common place right now.”

The pair debuted the song on the Grand Ole Opry in June and recorded it during a matinee appearance on the show in July. The collaboration will be released Sept. 12 on RCA’s Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and on Oct. 3 on MCA’s Grand Ole Opry 75th Anniversary Vol. II. Paisley says both singers can relate to the song’s topic.

“I just think becoming friends and getting close you see it,” he says. “Everybody asks her that, and I’ve seen interviews where she’s asked that question just like I am. So it became an obvious thing to write about.”

Wright says fans often feel sorry for her because she’s on the road so much.

“Sometimes I’ll give into that and go, ‘Yeah, yeah, we’re such troupers,’” she confesses. “But you know what? We do exactly what we want to do. We live the exact life we want to live, and if I wanted to be married and have eight children right now, I’m so used to getting my way I’d probably have exactly that.”

Both singers say their new tune is meant to be a tribute to the fans who support their successful careers. In fact, Paisley and Wright give almost identical statements on the subject.

“We wanted the fans to feel like, ‘This is how much we love you. You’re enough for us right now in our lives,’” Paisley says.

“This was just our opportunity to tell people who listen to country, and especially the Opry, that this is enough right now,” Wright says.

Both Paisley and Wright have been pretty vocal about their wishes to join the Opry cast. Paisley has been a regular guest since last year, playing the hallowed stage 33 times since his debut in 1999. Wright made her first Opry appearance in 1989, with Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff on the stage with her. Her personal Web site features an Opry Spotlight section.

“I want to be a part of that family when it’s right,” Wright says. “I want them to make me a member when I can bring my fan base to them and it’s actually worth it for the Opry.”

“I think the most important thing about the Opry is that it exists as a time capsule almost for what country music is,” Paisley adds. “I just totally respect that institution, and I’d love to be a member, but I just love going out there and playing.”