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Getting to know Brad Paisley

Getting to know Brad Paisley — The country singer chats with EW about alcohol, his sense of humor, and New York City

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A reason to get to know Brad Paisley: He may score you an invite to one of buddy William Shatner’s Monday Night Football parties— or, at the very least, to Nov. 15’s Country Music Association Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.), being held for the first time in New York City, a town without a country radio station. Largely thanks to his smash hit ”Alcohol” (not to be confused with his Alison Krauss duet ”Whiskey Lullaby”), the 33-year-old West Virginia native boasts six CMA noms.

How do you feel about the CMAs going to New York? It’s a good thing for us. They don’t understand country musicians in the least in that city. But really, our form of music is a reflection of contemporary life. There’s a lot in it that New Yorkers would appreciate.

Like? Alcohol — I’ve been to New York, and they sell it there. [Laughs] Love is universal. Relationships. My song ”Celebrity” is about reality television and the obsession with fame in general.

What’s the craziest thing alcohol’s ever made you do? You know, it’s funny: I’ve never been drunk. I have an interesting perspective because I stand on a stage, and every night I watch the crowds go from good to great and all it takes is that magic ingredient. There’s bets in the band about what it would take to get me to [get drunk]. It’d have to be the equivalent of my drummer streaking across the White House lawn — jail time’s involved.

You’re known for your subtle sense of humor. What makes you laugh? I’m a huge fan of Ricky Gervais and The Office. The bad songs that he writes? If he can write something that bad, he’s probably got a great songwriter in him.