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Paisley doesn't limit talents to places like First Niagara

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Brad Paisley
Varnell Enterprises
Brad Paisley

Country superstar Brad Paisley — who calls the First Niagara Pavilion, where he is performing on May 17, his home venue — reportedly will come to American living rooms next month as a judge for the new ABC singing-contest reality show called “Rising Star.”

Several media outlets, including Music Times and Deadline, have reported that Paisley will be joining the lineup of three judges for the show, which debuts June 22. Paisley, known for singing, songwriting and guitar-playing, will join fellow country stars Keith Urban and Blake Shelton — judges on “American Idol” and “The Voice,” respectively — in serving as a celebrity judge. In “Rising Star,” according to ABC's website, the audience will vote in real time through an app to determine who advances.

Paisley's ninth album, including the current single “River Bank,” is set for release Aug. 26, and Paisley has called the album “easy to like.”

The country star, a native of Glen Dale, W.Va., near Wheeling, also is easy to like, and should perform a judging role well, based on his personality traits and talents, country music industry officials say.

“He's a really friendly, accessible person, for one,” says Michael McCall, a writer and editor for publications at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. “I think he works real well with people. He's always been real collaborative. He's a musician and not just a singer.”

Jeremy Mulder, a DJ for the Froggy radio stations, says that Paisley should be good at evaluating contestants, with wit but also with sincerity and kindness.

“He has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor,” says Mulder, whose on-air moniker is Danger Frog. “I think that he's one of those guys where you can be offended by him and not know that he's joking.”

One of Paisley's hallmarks is his witty sense of humor, which shows in his self-penned songs, McCall says. Paisley, who has had 22 No. 1 songs, also makes his music contemporary by references in his songs, such as Starbucks in “Accidental Racist.” He has a sentimental streak, yet balances that with humor, McCall says.

“I think he tries to be real contemporary,” McCall says. Paisley “takes the country tradition ... but throws in things that show ... a part of the modern (society).”

A perfect example of Paisley's clever humor is the playful, flirty song “Ticks,” McCall says.

“He's very clever about things like that — finding ways to talk about universal subjects in ways nobody else has ever done,” he says.

Mulder says that Paisley's storytelling in songs shows his talent. Paisley's best-known hits include “Ticks,” “The World,” “Alcohol,” “Mud on the Tires” and “Remind Me.”

“He's a great musician and great songwriter,” Mulder says. “His songs all tell stories that people enjoy. That's kind of what country music is all about: telling stories.

Paisley's show kicks off a summer of outdoor country entertainment. This season's schedule includes:

• Tim McGraw, June 6, First Niagara

• Luke Bryan, with Dierks Bentley, June 21, Heinz Field

• Jason Aldean, with Florida Georgia Line, July 26, PNC Park

• Toby Keith, Aug. 9, First Niagara

• Lady Antebellum, Aug. 23, First Niagara

• Rascal Flatts, with Sheryl Crow, Sept. 6, First Niagara

The popularity of these acts continues to grow. A one-ticket deal ranging from $209 to $799 for all seven shows — made available in January through the Baierl Truck Depot Country Megaticket — have sold out, according to Tickets for individual shows are still available.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7824.

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