We always knew Brad Paisley was a distinguished gentleman, and his home state of West Virginia has now made it official.
When Paisley wrapped up his Beat This Winter tour Saturday (March 1) in Charleston, W.Va., he was presented the Distinguished West Virginian Award by state senate president Jeff Kessler and West Virginia Music Hall of Fame director Michael Lipton.
That's a mighty fine accomplishment and a full-circle moment for Paisley, who got his start picking and grinning in his hometown of Glen Dale around the age of 8. He became a local favorite and then a star on the regional circuit after performing on the Wheeling Jamboree, a weekly program second only to the Grand Ole Opry as the oldest country music show broadcast in the U.S.
Of course, now he's an international superstar and a member of the Opry -- and arguably its poster boy -- but that doesn't negate the importance of those early years of hometown performing to a down-home guy like Paisley. He's the kind of man and artist that might just treasure those moments more than anything. They are what keep him grounded.
And it makes sense that all of West Virginia would want to give such praise to their native son after all he's given and continues to give to them. The award, which is meant to honor those who bring positive attention to the state, is also the highest honor that can be awarded by the governor.
Talk about ending a tour on a high note, but the fun for him is just beginning. He'll be heading to Europe later this month for concerts in Ireland, England, Norway and Sweden.