Brad Paisley got his start in music as a teenager, performing local shows in his hometown of Glen Dale, West Virginia. During a recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Paisley reflected on his early bookings, sharing that he would play just about anywhere, including what turned out to be "the worst gig" of his life.
"When I was growing up, I did a lot of concerts in my hometown," he told Kelly Clarkson. "I was from a hometown of about 1200 people and so I was booked solid. I was the teenager that they needed to sing at anything from Rotary Club luncheons to Lions Club meetings to mother-daughter banquets, anything. I was the entertainment."
"I got booked to sing for toddlers at the library one afternoon and I don’t recommend that for anybody," he recalled. "You realize quickly that there isn’t any… unless you’re like Raffi or one of those people, that really cater to that, there’s nothing in your arsenal that will work. That is the test of all tests on a performer." Paisley joked, "I think I got booed off the stage by, like, five-year-olds."
Clarkson shared that her own most unlikely performance happened at a wrestling match when she was 17. "Mine was a wrestling thing," she shared. "I had no idea what I was signing up for when I was like 17 years old, but somebody asked me to sing the national anthem and I showed up and it was like a wrestling match and I was like, 'Alright.' And so it was an unusual place for me to go and do it."
It was after one of Paisley's Rotary Club shows that the program director of a radio station in Wheeling, West Virginia asked Paisley and his and, Brad Paisley & The C-Notes, to be a guest on WWVA's Jamboree USA, where he became part of the show's weekly lineup. He spent the next eight years opening for acts like The Judds and George Jones and was the youngest person to be inducted into the Jamboree USA Hall of Fame.
The country star recently recalled opening for The Judds during an appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, "That was my first real, really cool thing," he said. "I was 14 when I got to open for them in my hometown. They came through and I got to be the opening act, and there they are. They were as big as it gets, too. It was bizarre. They were wonderful, they were really nice." Paisley added that he is "still friends" with the two women today.