It only took one word for Brad Paisley to express what heexpects to contribute to this year’s Stadium of Fire on Saturdaynight at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. “Noise,” Paisleysaid.
Not just any kind of noise. The 38-year-old Paisley is theCountry Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year, andhis newest album, “This is Country Music,” released May 23, hasalready posted a No. 1 single, the 19th of Paisley’s career.
Paisley, who’s married to actress Kimberly Williams and has twosons, said that it’s important to him for people to get theirmoney’s worth. “When I take my family to a show,” he said, “I wantit to be something they’ll remember.”
Known for his high-energy performances, Paisley said that hehopes to get people on their feet at Stadium of Fire. He alsothinks that country music is a natural fit for the strong emphasison celebrating America that comes with Stadium of Fire, theshowpiece event of America’s Freedom Festival at Provo. “Of allformats of music out there,” Paisley said, “the one that’s notafraid to wave the flag, or support the troops, is country.”
Paisley will be joined on the Stadium of Fire stage by DavidArchuleta, the “American Idol” runner-up from Murray who’spromoting a new album of his own, “The Other Side of Down,”released Oct. 5. The two won’t be performing together, Archuletasaid, but he’s happy to be on the same bill.
Paisley, Archuleta said, is “a really great guy. I’m lookingforward to watching him perform.” The two met briefly in 2008 whenArchuleta presented Paisley with the award for Favorite CountryMale Artist at the American Music Awards.
For Archuleta, this year’s Stadium of Fire is a returnengagement (it’s Paisley’s first appearance at the event). When hewas 12, in 2003, Archuleta sang the national anthem at Stadium ofFire (another country artist, Martina McBride, was the headliningact that year). “It was really a crazy experience, but it wasreally great to get to do it,” he said.
Paisley said that he’s enjoyed celebrating the Fourth of Julysince he was a kid growing up in West Virginia. His father, a statedepartment of transportation official, ran the town firedepartment, and Paisley got to ride in a fire truck each year andpass out candy during parades. “It’s really one of my fondestmemories,” he said.
Archuleta remembers going to Murray Park to see the cityfireworks display with his family. “We’d get the sparklers out andrun all around,” he said. “It was always a really fun experience todo as a family.”
It will be a while before either Paisley or Archuleta puts outanother new album, but both are keeping busy. Archuleta said thathe’s enjoying “working on new music” without having a recordingdeadline looming. “I’m just trying to focus on my sound andexperiment,” he said.
For Paisley, there’s a book set to arrive in November, “Diary ofa Player: How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me” (withDavid Wild). Paisley, whose guitar playing is often cited as beingamong the best in any genre, said that Steve Warner, Vince Gill,Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen are among the guitarists whoinfluenced him.
Paisley has been playing since age 8, but said that the guitardidn’t come naturally to him, something that didn’t really occur tohim “until I’d been around some.”
“I didn’t take to it like some sort of prodigy,” he said. “It’snot like there was some electric shock when the guitar was handedto me and the heavens parted.”
The secret, he said, is effort. “There’s people with moreability than I have,” he said, “but I don’t think they work as hardas I do.”
Archuleta said he’s kept track of “American Idol” since StevenTyler and Jennifer Lopez were added as judges. He said that he”really likes” the new judges, but that he doesn’t know whether hewould have done any better under their tutelage than he did withdeparted judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.
Clint Eastwood won’t be at Stadium of Fire this year, butPaisley did convince the iconic movie star to assist him with “Thisis Country Music” — the octogenarian tough guy does some whistlingon the instrumental track “Eastwood.” Paisley said that he lovedthe fact that Eastwood was “willing to goof around with me,” andthat the movie star was refreshingly ego-free.
So will Eastwood be returning the favor with a role for thecountry singer in one of his upcoming movies? “I greatly doubt it,”Paisley said. “He hasn’t called.”