OFFSTAGE: Brad Paisley Books Wrigley Field

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I fell in love with Brad Paisley for $8. It was 2004, it was pouring rain, but nobody at the DuPage County Fair outside Chicago cared. Especially Paisley. He put on a show that made it clear that someday he’d be playing a much, much, much bigger Chicagoland stage. So now, eight years later, he will.

Paisley is going to play the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field on June 9. There probably won’t be a watermelon-eating contest or pig races or a petting zoo, but this show will have a few other big draws. Like Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, The Band Perry and Jerrod Niemann.

As much as I’ve enjoyed watching Paisley climb this ladder of gigs, so has he. In his Diary of a Player book, there’s a part where he talks about winning the CMA horizon award in 2000 and the CMA entertainer of the year award in 2010.

“If I were to have written the script for my life, I might have actually penned it so that I won the Horizon Award in 2000, and then ten years later, in 2010, I’d win Entertainer of the Year. To me, that feels like a healthy climb, so much more satisfying than winning those two awards back-to-back,” he writes. “I’ve never been about the short run or the quick hit, and I loved the idea of taking my time on this musical journey.”

I agree and am just thrilled that one of the destinations on his journey is in my backyard.