At 8 years old, future country superstar Brad Paisley was given his first guitar by his grandfather, Warren Jarvis. Throughout his live shows, his 10 studio LPs and even the 2011 book Diary of a Player, his grandfather's influence has loomed large. But he certainly wasn't the only one who shaped Paisley's musicianship. The West Virginia native owes a debt of gratitude to guitar greats in every genre of music, and paid homage to one of the greatest this weekend, unleashing a blistering version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" in his show at the Runaway Country festival in Kissimmee, Florida, hours after learning Berry had died Saturday at age 90.
With video screens behind him displaying a photo of the rock icon, Paisley strutted up and down the stage, at one point even looking as if he might attempt to duplicate Berry's patented "duck walk." While that didn't happen (in the video portion here), he neverthelesse roared through the 1958 rock classic, which Berry wrote was an autobiographical sketch about a "little colored boy." "I changed it to country boy – or else it wouldn't get on the radio," the guitar legend told Rolling Stone in 1972.
Among the many acts who have covered the tale of the musically gifted backwoods boy through the years is another hero of Paisley's, Buck Owens, whose longtime guitarist Don Rich is considered one of country music's most accomplished and influential on the instrument. Owens and his band, the Buckaroos, scored a Number One country hit with their blistering live version of "Johnny B. Goode" in 1969. Watch Owens perform the tune in a later TV appearance below.
Paisley's new album, Love and War, featuring a song by Johnny Cash, as well as appearances from Mick Jagger and Timbaland, will be released April 21st.