OFFSTAGE: How Brad Paisley Keeps It Close to the Ground

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

When Brad Paisley was on The Sean Hannity Show recently, he reached into the way-back files for a quote from the founder of the Grand Ole Opry about making sure he stays down-to-earth. "George Hay used to say to the Opry band before they would walk out, 'Keep it close to the ground, boys,'" Paisley told Hannity. "Which meant, 'Let's be on the same level of the people that are watching us play.'" And Paisley's always done a great job of that, whether he's playing the Opry or a stage five times the size. "In my case, I look a lot of these people in the eye for a living," he said of playing live for his fans. However he did admit he knows there will come a day when "there are fewer and fewer people looking at you when you sing." But even if he does someday only play to a handful of fans, Paisley will always be an entertainer. "I don't know if I have an identity without a guitar," he said. "It's like an addiction and a fuel that I don't think I could ever pass up."

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