A scholarship to Belmont University brought the West Virginia-born Brad Paisley to Nashville in the early 1990s. By that point, he was a seasoned picker and songwriter, having played all across his home state with a group of adult friends. Not long after signing with Arista Nashville, Paisley scored his first No. 1 with ‘He Didn’t Have to Be,’ but it was ‘I’m Gonna Miss Her’ that really broke the artist three years later. The song also led to his introduction to wife Kimberly Williams, whom he’d marry in 2003. The ‘Mud on the Tires’ and ‘Time Well Wasted’ albums are essential pickups from the ’00s. Each helped the now-star earn several industry awards and become a major venue headliner. In 2008, Paisley co-hosted the CMA Awards with Carrie Underwood for the first time.