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Q&A: Brad Paisley Discusses Entertaining Military Families at the White House This Fourth of July

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

By Christian Pelusi 

You wouldn’t think that much would faze Brad Paisley at this point. The country music star has sold over 12 million albums and recorded 20 songs that reached No. 1. He’s won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Male Vocalist of the Year five times and was the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year in 2010. Plus his 2010 tour was the most attended in country music.

But the ability to perform for some of our nation’s military members and their families at the White House on the Fourth of July has the superstar excited and honored. He took a break from his current “Virtual Reality World Tour 2012" to answer a few questions via email about the upcoming “Salute to the Military” event.

Q: What was your reaction when the possibility of playing for the first family and military families at the White House on the Fourth of July was brought to your attention?  

Brad Paisley: So absolutely honored. As a proud American I can think of no better way to honor our troops, their families and our government than by singing in that very place on that very day.

 Q: Have you ever met the President and/or the first lady previously and if so, what were the circumstances and tell us a little about the occasion?  

BP: I had the honor to play the East Room a few years ago in a special country music performance. At the time, I had just released an album entitled American Saturday Night which features some of my observations about the times we are living in, especially related to progress. Ironically, that performance in the White House was the first time I had ever sung a few of those songs and it happened to be for the most powerful man in the world. No pressure!

Q: You have done work with the USO before, visiting hospitals and a burn unit at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in 2007. What was that experience like for you personally and if you could, talk a little about what your impression of the USO is?  

BP: Well, I’m a big believer in the power of motivation and I see the USO as something that has existed to boost the morale of our fighting men and women since before I was born. We are talking about the people responsible for our freedom. And their job is VERY hard. So I think back to Bob Hope, telling jokes and adding sunshine in the middle of wartime devastation and it occurs to me that you can’t underestimate what that did for those brave souls.

Q: What can guests anticipate from your Fourth of July performance? Describe some of your fondest Fourth of July experiences growing up in West Virginia.   

BP: I guess I’ll have a little bit more heart on this day than normal. I always put whatever I’ve got into performances, but I have a feeling emotions will run higher on that special occasion. And I really can’t mess it up too much; I’m just the opening act to the fireworks. In West Virginia, that’s what it was all about: things with wicks and fuses attached that went boom.

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The event is expected to be attended by more than 1,200 troops and military families and will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov.

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