Brad Paisley was on hand at the opening of his new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday night (Nov. 17) in Nashville.

The newly-unveiled Brad Paisley: Diary of a Player exhibit chronicles Paisley's rise from a child guitar prodigy in his native West Virginia to one of the most beloved and well-respected singers, songwriters and musicians in contemporary country music, using professional and personal items from across his life and career.

The items in the exhibit include toys from Paisley's childhood, his first guitar — a Sears Silvertone with a built-in amp in the case — and an early letter to Santa, as well as stage costumes and a large selection from the many awards he has won. But in keeping with its title, the exhibit is dominated by a number of the many custom guitars Paisley has acquired over his career, including a red, white and blue guitar and a special Lucite guitar built especially for Paisley and given to him to honor his support for NASCAR.

Paisley's father helped curate many of the items for the exhibit, and he was present at the opening along with Paisley's wife, actor Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who sadly lost her own mother on Wednesday (Nov. 16) after a long battle with dementia.

Hall of Fame and Museum CEP Kyle Young introduced Paisley at a brief press conference, telling the story of how Paisley's grandfather gave him the Silvertone for Christmas. It was one of his own guitars.

"Which was just cheap on his part," Paisley quipped when he took the podium, drawing a huge laugh from the assembled reporters and music industry insiders.

He turned serious, saying, "The idea that I would start playing that, and develop the hope and dreams that led me to stand in this circle today is crazy." He said the part of his career that makes him the proudest is that he's gotten to collaborate with so many of his own heroes. "I didn't just get to meet these guys, I got to create with them."

He joked that the exhibit and its attendant focus on him made him feel as if he was attending his own memorial.

"I was like, 'Who is this Brad Paisley guy? When did he die?" he cracked. "That was what it was like, looking at the exhibit, like, 'Well, we're gonna miss him.'"

Paisley added that he hoped his story might inspire another young player.

"What I hope is that some kid walks through this display and thinks to himself, 'I can do that. And not only that, but someday, I'm gonna take that guy and dress him in funny clothes and make him do a bit on the CMA Awards.'"

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