NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A book really wasn't on Brad Paisley's bucket list. Too many songs to write and licks to play.
Over time, though, the country music star learned that having millions of fans means millions of questions, and a book offered a way to let everyone know the important people, moments and lessons he's learned since his grandfather gave him his first guitar.
"And now I get to say, `It's in the book,' and that's fun for me," Paisley said. "As well as the fact that this was meant to inspire. It's not a book that's meant to say, `Careful. This is a rough road.' This is more like, you find that thing, whether it's a guitar or a paint brush or a tape recorder. I don't know what it is. Whatever you're good at milking -- a cow -- go do that. If you're great at something, all these doors will open. And I believe that."
"Diary of a Player," co-written with David Wild, is a breezy primer on the dots Paisley connected while putting together his run from small-town West Virginia to big-time Nashville.
Along the way we meet his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, the man who gave Paisley his love for guitar, whether he wanted it or not. And there's Hank Goddard, his first real guitar teacher, and the band of first-class older musicians assembled for an 11-year-old frontman. Paisley visits his inspirations, tells the story of meeting his wife and thanks Garth Brooks for making him cool -- spurring his first kiss.
Brooks, we learn, helped him move from grandmother-approved crooner to rockin' rebel.
"And the next thing you know there's even quite a few of those adults saying, `He's trouble,'" Paisley said. "That's what you want. The minute you get one of those adults saying, `I think he's trouble. He does that song, `Friends in Low Places.' That's about drinking. I don't want you seeing him.'"
AP writer Caitlin R. King in Nashville contributed to this report.