Brad Paisley, one of country music's last cats in a hat, set to rock Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre
When Brad Paisley twangs out the hits in Tampa this weekend, he will be the rare Nashville chart-topper still wearing tradition on his head.
Once the chief sartorial signifier of the tear-in-your-beer crowd, the good ol' cowboy hat has lost some country cool.
Blake Shelton, the hottest country artist around, doesn't bother with one. Eric Church and Luke Bryan don't either. Darius Rucker has a smooth hit with Wagon Wheel — and a smooth-pated head on proud display. Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line are too pretty to obscure their lush locks.
It's a trend among a lot of talented folks at the top of today's country music charts. In fact, when Paisley picks out such hits as Ticks and Waitin' on a Woman at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Saturday, his white felt Serratelli cowboy hat will stand out more than usual.
Paisley's opening act, however, will be a different — and more modern — story. Chris Young made headlines a few years ago when he changed his image, starting with the top of his head.
"People made a big deal out of Chris Young ditching his cowboy hat," says Veronica Alfaro, radio personality on WQYK-FM 99.5, a country music station in Tampa Bay. "But it worked. I think he had, like, five No. 1's after that."
For more on Paisley and the state of the cowboy hat in country music, click here for Sean Daly's story.