Brad Paisley’s Independence Day weekend performance in front of 300,000-plus partiers in downtown Nashville is not just impressive because of nearly a half-million people fitting into South Broadway. Rather, given that the West Virginia native’s latest single, “City of Music,” celebrates his 25th year in Music City, the song, that moment, and his ability to reflect on his career are profound. In a recent sit-down interview onstage at the Ryman Auditorium on the Today Show, he unpacked his thoughts.
“[Nashville] is a crazy-amazing mecca for music. I really wanted to celebrate it,” he told Today’s Willie Geist. “You could put a community theater production of Yankee Doodle Dandy onstage downtown and you could get 300,000 people for it, probably,” Paisley joked, regarding how live-event starved he felt Nashville fad become during the pandemic. Describing the development of vaccines and the COVID-19 virus slowly being controlled nationwide as a “miracle,” he offered his gratitude for being able to again take the stage.
However, still joking, he noted one key realization he made during quarantine that made him also thankful that he had time away from live performing and constant touring: “Yeah. I actually like [my wife]. That was something I wasn’t, you know, I was forced to confront.” Interviewer Geist laughed, then replied, “I like to think you knew that a long time ago.” “I knew that,” the three-time Grammy winner replied. “I don’t know if she’s still sure yet, but it doesn’t matter.” After a pause, he continued, “No, it’s great. We had a pretty good time.”