Keith Urban’s presentation of the CMA International Artist Achievement Award to Brad Paisley on the last night of CMA Music Fest turned into a bit of a mutually bromantic roast.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to do this for you, Brad. I know that traveling internationally has always been important to you,” Urban began earnestly before poking fun at his friend’s limited travels during the backstage press conference. “I know you played, I think, Japan? Maybe down in Cabo? Maybe Niagara Falls one time? I’m just glad I can do this. Maybe we can do an international tour together.”
Paisley agreed, suggesting they take their joint trek to that “Floating Texas of yours,” otherwise known as Urban’s home country of Australia.
The ribbing continued as the “Crushin’ It” singer accepted the trophy, given to him for his promotion of country music outside the U.S. “It’s an honor to get this trophy from someone who first of all was born on another planet. Krypton, I think,” the West Virginia native said as Urban interjected, “I do have super powers.”
“Captain Australia right here,” Paisley continued, referencing Urban’s character in his most recent, hilarious music video. “You’re a real inspiration to me in many different ways. Thank you for coming here in the rocket ship.”
All kidding aside, Paisley did take a moment to reflect somewhat seriously on the award, musing, “I think country music works as one of the best ambassador-type things you can do in an art form. When you send other forms of music overseas, it’s obviously something people flip out and love, but I don’t know if it reflects real life as well as our format does. Any time you see people in Sweden loving country songs and buying into what we are as artists, they’re seeing the real America. In that sense, we have an obligation as a format to try our best to get this everywhere we can so they don’t think we all wear spandex.”
Paisley later elaborated on country music as an American export, telling stories he hears from fans in Norway, Sweden and other countries about how his lyrics have not only given them a taste of U.S. culture but have also touched their lives.
“They know all the album cuts from my first record because they don’t know what was on the radio,” he explained. “They still remember ‘He Didn’t Have to Be,’ my first big single. I can’t believe how that transcends borders when you’re talking about a very specific situation with a stepfather raising a stepson. It’s fun to see them relate in these foreign countries.”
In addition to touring to Norway and Sweden, Paisley headlined the C2C Festivals in London and Dublin in 2014. He also recorded the Brad Paisley and Friends special for BBC Radio 2.