With his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, looking on from the side, Brad Paisley celebrated his two most recent No. 1 singles at a party held Monday (Oct. 20) at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville.
ASCAP and BMI, the two major performance rights organizations, staged the event to honor the writers of “I’m Still a Guy” and “Waitin’ on a Woman.” Paisley, Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller wrote the former song, and Don Sampson and Wynn Varble penned the latter. Frank Rogers, who was not in attendance, produced both hits.
ASCAP’s Connie Bradley and BMI’s Jody Williams co-hosted the presentations in front of a crowd that filled the building’s spacious entrance hall.
As Paisley and Lovelace — both of whom are affiliated with ASCAP — stood behind her, Bradley noted that “I’m Still a Guy” is the 10th No. 1 the two men have written (either together or with other writers).
Warming to the subject of their collaboration, Bradley announced that “Brad and Kelley are expecting” — before quickly correcting herself to say that “Brad and Kimberly are expecting,” a reference to last week’s revelation that the Paisleys are on their way to having their second child.
Bradley also pointed out that Lovelace won four songwriting trophies at last week’s ASCAP awards show and that Paisley’s current single with Keith Urban, “Start a Band,” has risen to No. 13 in Billboard in just five weeks.
Williams lauded Miller, a BMI writer, by reciting his successes since he co-penned his first No. 1, “The Impossible,” a hit in 2002 for Joe Nichols. (Lovelace was Miller’s co-writer on this one.)
“His view of the world resonates with hit artists,” Williams said of Miller, adding that “I’m Still a Guy” is Miller’s fifth song to reach the top of the chart.
Turning his attention to Paisley, Williams continued, “When you think you’ve heard it all from Brad, he’ll surprise you. … He raises the bar in every performance he’s involved with.”
Lovelace thanked “Brad Paisley, my best friend” after accepting a string of awards from ASCAP, his publisher, the Country Music Association, Country Radio Broadcasters and other well-wishers. “A song like this,” he said, referring to the hit’s macho posturing, “you almost need to be buddies on.”
Miller praised the promotion team at Arista Records, Paisley’s label. “If anybody’s cracked the code [for getting hits via radio], it’s you guys,” he said. He, too, conjured up the buddy sessions that created “I’m Still a Guy,” observing, “Imagine the stuff that didn’t make the song.”
In yet another allusion to the “Guy” lyrics, Miller thanked his wife for “16 years of G-rated back rubs.”
The usually wisecracking Paisley seemed uncharacteristically serious when he took his turn at the microphone. “The great thing about this business,” he said, “is that you get to do this with people that are so wonderful.”
With the first hit properly honored, Bradley and Williams next focused on the co-writers of “Waitin’ on a Woman,” Sampson of ASCAP and Varble with BMI. The song is Sampson’s fourth No. 1 and Varble’s second. Williams presented Varble a guitar to mark this latest achievement.
“Waitin’ on a Woman” first appeared on Paisley’s 2005 album, Time Well Wasted. From the outset, the song was earmarked to be a single. But after four other singles had been pulled from the album, Paisley moved on to other recordings.
However, fan and radio response to “Waitin’” was so positive that Paisley and his label revived it as a single and even reissued it on later pressings of his current album, 5th Gear. Then, to top things off, Paisley made a music video for the song that co-starred Andy Griffith.
Varble told the crowd that when he first heard Paisley’s recording of his song, he didn’t much care for it. “I told Brad, ‘You messed that song all up,’ [and] I said, ‘Don, they’ve ruined this song.’”
But the more he listened to Paisley’s version, Varble continued, the more he liked it. “It started to grow on me a little bit.” As Paisley stood by grinning, Varble took a more conciliatory tack. “I love real country music,” he said, “and Brad is one of the last ones who’s still doing it.”
Said Paisley, “If there’s a song I wish I’d written in the history of country music, this would be it.” He invited Varble and Samson to give him another song he could “ruin.”
After telling the crowd the story of how “Waitin’ on a Woman” was resurrected, Paisley said, “I really thought this was a masterpiece, and I knew it could be a No. 1 record.” Cocking an eye toward Varble, he added, “Next time, why don’t you produce it, Wynn?”