Party Honors Brad Paisley and Wil Nance’s No. 1

Singer Talks About New Album, Baby, Tour and "Ticks"

ASCAP and BMI, the performance rights organizations, commandeered Owen Bradley Park on Nashville’s Music Row Tuesday afternoon (March 27) to celebrate Brad Paisley’s recent No. 1 single, “She’s Everything.” Paisley, who’s affiliated with ASCAP, co-wrote the hit with BMI’s Wil Nance.

Hundreds of well-wishers showed up to swap industry gossip, graze on Mexican food and bask in the warm air. There were even kids and a dog bounding about to enhance the picnic feel.

During the half hour leading up to the festivities, Paisley traipsed from one TV crew to another in the ASCAP building and then sat down for a brief chat with radio and print reporters.

Paisley said he doubted there would be a music video for his new single, “Ticks.” The whimsical song, he maintained, stood on its own and, moreover, was moving up the charts too fast to wait for a video — “unless I come up with a great idea.” (In just four weeks on the charts, “Ticks” has rocketed to No. 17.)

Like such earlier glimpses of hillbilly ineptitude as “Me Neither” (2000) and “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song)” (2002), “Ticks” reveals a guy whose libido far exceeds his linguistic skills. Thus, instead of purring honeyed words to his honey, the best he can do is blurt out the simian refrain, “I’d like to check you for ticks.”

Kelley Lovelace and Tim Owens co-wrote “Ticks” with Paisley while they were holed up in Los Angeles.

“That song was actually harder to write than anybody thinks,” Paisley asserted. He admitted that some of their best lines were too risqué to be used.

When it came time to play “Ticks” for Joe Galante, the head of Paisley’s record label and the man who makes the final decisions on album content, the singer said he assigned the task to his manager, Bill Simmons.

“I was really as nervous as I’d ever been [about] handing in something,” Paisley confessed. “I thought if [Galante] loves it, then I’m going to think he’s crazy. But if he hates it, I’m going to think he’s crazy.”

Galante loved it. According to his manager, Paisley said, Galante “uttered an expletive, jumped into the air [and declared], ‘It’s a smash!’”

Paisley’s next CD — which includes “Ticks” — is titled 5th Gear and is due out June 19. He hinted there might be a guest star duet on it and probably a gospel song, just as in his previous collections.

“We’re trying to say things on this album we’ve never said before,” he noted.

Having Hershey’s candies as the sponsor of his upcoming Bonfires & Amplifiers tour, Paisley said, will enable him to spice up his stage show, particularly the video features.

Reporters asked lots of questions about the new kid in the star’s household, William Huckleberry Paisley. Initially, Paisley said, he wanted to name the child William Warren, the first name honoring his wife Kimberly Williams’ family and the second his grandfather. But, he added, “My wife would have no part of Warren.”

Ultimately, Paisley decided to go for a middle name that “signified adventure.” Since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is his favorite book and Mark Twain is one of his favorite authors, he settled on “Huckleberry.” Some members of his band, he said, have already started calling the baby “Huck.”

When Paisley officially filled in the child’s name at the hospital, he said he kept the pen and gave it to his wife so she could illustrate “the power of the pen” to their son. “With this,” he said, holding up an imaginary pen, “I changed his life.”

Paisley said the responsibility of being a new parent first struck him when he was driving his wife and baby home from the hospital and realized he was carefully adhering to the speed limit. Adjusting to parenthood, he observed philosophically, is “all very gradual — one diaper at a time.” He has no plans, he added, to take his wife and baby on the road.

ASCAP’s Connie Bradley and BMI’s Jody Williams took turns handing out awards to the songwriters, their publishers and the song’s producer, Frank Rogers. Bradley also presented Paisley a mammoth moose doll to give to his son. As a nod to the singer’s actress wife, the moose came seated in a director’s chair. Bradley pointed out that “She’s Everything” was Paisley’s seventh No. 1.

Williams said BMI was starting a new tradition of awarding its No. 1 songwriters a commemorative guitar. He then gave the first one — a Takamine — to Nance. “One per career,” he noted.

Nance told the crowd that his wife was the inspiration for “She’s Everything,” but Paisley added song sentiments about his own spouse. “He didn’t want to be out singing to 20,000 people about my wife,” said Nance, “and I didn’t want him to either.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.