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AP Interview: Brad Paisley incognito in Europe

The Associated Press, Thursday, August 18, 2011, 7:12am (PDT)

LONDON (AP) -- While U.K. fans go wild for Brad Paisley on stage, backstage it's a different matter.

The U.S. country star kicked off the European leg of his world tour Wednesday night at London's O2 Arena and had two sold-out shows there last year. But the Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year says he's not famous enough yet in Europe that everyone recognizes him, even backstage at his own show.

"I'm getting asked everywhere ... if I belong here, you know, 'Excuse me sir, do you have a pass?' ... (even at) my own gig!" he told The Associated Press in an interview before the concert.

Luckily, Paisley doesn't take offense and even enjoys the anonymity.

"It's humbling but it's also pleasant," he said. "I can walk around here feeling like hardly anyone is going to know me."

Paisley's seventh studio album is "This Is Country Music." He has also been heard in theaters recently with two songs in Disney's animated film sequel "Cars 2."

Paisley is working hard to win over new fans and feels the market outside the United States is ripe for a surge of interest in country music.

"That's the thing — they're really starved for it and you can tell in their enthusiasm," he said.

In fact, Paisley feels that his fans in the U.K. may be more dedicated than his wider home crowd.

"It's really a pleasant surprise every time how much they know and how much they are familiar with my music, in a way that they really aren't in America," he said.

Paisley already took his "H20 II: Wetter and Wilder World Tour" across the United States. He now has three shows in Ireland this month — Dublin, Castlebar and Killamey — before gigs in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. He returns to the U.S. in September.

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