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Brad Paisley

WHAT MY FATHER TAUGHT ME

Of all the things Brad Paisley has learned from his dad, singing and playing guitar are not among them. "There is absolutely no musical talent in him," the country superstar says with a laugh. (Brad got his gift from maternal grandfather Warren Jarvis, whom he called Papaw.) But what Doug Paisley, 62, does have is a deep devotion to family, which he instilled in Brad. "Now that I have my own kids," says the singer, 36, referring to William Huckleberry (Huck), 2, and Jasper, 6 months, his sons with Kimberly Williams-Paisley, 38, "I relate to him in a different way." Here, Paisley shares what he learned about being a father from his dad and how he's using it to raise his boys.

BE DEDICATED

Doug was an active parent from Day One. "It was at the start of Lamaze, so I was there when Brad was born," says Doug, who worked for West Virginia's transportation department. Brad's mom, Sandy, put in long hours as a teacher, so Doug often shared parenting duties—"I'd put Brad to bed a lot"—and bonded with his boy by taking him on occasional outings to his military base (Doug was in the Army Reserve). Today, Brad follows suit by taking Huck out on the road—and Doug too. "It's great to watch my dad with Huck," he says. "It's a glimpse of your own past." Adds Doug: "He's a great dad and a good husband. I feel I've been that. I gave up [weekend] military service because it gave me time with him."

DRIVE THEM ANYWHERE (AND DON'T CHARGE FOR GAS!)

Doug—"my first roadie," says Brad—fully supported his 12-year-old's music career, acting as chauffeur and sound man. "I'd sing five songs, tell jokes and be $55 richer," says Brad. "My dad never asked for a cut! Not even gas money. I still owe him money."

DO YOUR BEST...AND THEN DO BETTER

Brad says Doug "wasn't a pushy father," but he was a realist. "We'd be on our way home from a gig, and I'd say, 'That went great!' " Brad recalls. "He'd say, 'You're cute now, but when you're 20 and you do the same thing, it's not cute. You gotta get better.' That really stuck with me."

BE OF SERVICE

Doug was active in their small town of Glen Dale, W. Va.—and being a good citizen is a message Brad will pass on to his kids. "I want them to be the type of people who, when they see something unfortunate, do something about it."

IT COMES BACK TO FAMILY

"Huck has spent so much time with his four grandparents," says Brad. "It shows him where he comes from and the values we have. I like that." Adds Doug: "It comes full circle. Brad and his Papaw, and me and Huck. I just never thought I'd be as old as Papaw!"