ABC News’ Nikki Battiste reports:
Brad Paisley is hilarious.
He’s far more focused on making great music – and jokes — than flaunting his celebrity status, so it’s easy to forget he is a country music super star when you’re in his presence.
Crowned “Entertainer of the Year” at last year’s Country Music Awards, Paisley is more than just a singer-songwriter. He is a husband to “Father of the Bride” actress Kimberly Williams, father to two sons and a mentor to up-and-coming country music artists.
Now he is also an author. His latest venture includes a book, “Diary of a Player: How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me,” which is described as “a salute to the guitar gods of country, blues, and rock & roll who have shaped his life.” The book is in stores today.
“Nightline” tagged along with Paisley for a day, taking a ride with the country music star as he drove his pick-up truck down Music Row in downtown Nashville to his recording studio, where he is grooming a new artist, Brent Anderson, on a song they co-wrote, “What If She Is.”
“I keep thinking of stuff I didn’t put in [the book]” Paisley said on the drive. “My first ever accident was on Music Row, I was interning for ASCAP….It was the best, most poetic place I could have had my first accident.”
While on the drive, Paisley also talked about the first time he heard one of his songs on the radio — “I remember thinking I really sound funny,” he said — and pointed out his alma mater, Blemont University, where he met his long-time producer, got his big break during an internship and – most surprisingly – earned a “D” in his guitar class.
“They send me to Nashville with these lofty goals of being a big guitar player, and the one class I get a D in, I remember my dad, he was so furious,” Paisley said, chuckling.
He also talked about his desire to keep normalcy in his life – a reminder of his humble upbringing in Glen Dale, W. Va. His mother was a fourth grade teacher and his father worked for the state’s Department of Transportation.
“I come from a place that’s stuck in that time,” he said. “My hometown was 1,200 people, so I mean, there’s Mayberry parts to that place… I really do miss a little bit of the simplicity. But I also wouldn’t trade my iPhone for much, at this point. You know, I like the simplicity of being able to check your email in any location.”
Paisley now lives in Franklin, Tenn., on his 85-acre farm with his family, where he enjoys driving his beloved Corvettes and riding his quarter-horses.
Spending the day with Paisley leaves me to wonder if it would be possible for this mega star to be any nicer – or funnier. His humor comes through in his book, a tribute to “guiter gods” and his grandfather, who gave him his first guitar at age 8.
And, of course, Paisley could not resist a joke about his book’s clever title.
“Well, we misspelled it. I wanted it to be ‘playa,’” he said. ”And, I mean, you know, I looked at it when I got the copy, I said, it says ‘player’!”
Watch the full story on “Nightline” tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET