Photo credit: Caitlin Selle/CMA

While participating in a press conference backstage at LP Field on Thursday, June 7 before his performance at 2012 CMA Music Festival, Brad Paisley was surprised when CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore presented him with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award.

“Brad is an outstanding ambassador for Country Music around the globe,” said Moore. “CMA is proud to present him with our International Artist Achievement Award.”

The CMA International Artist Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a U.S.-based artist who contributes to the awareness and development of Country Music outside the United States.

Since 2000, Paisley has performed in Canada, Europe, and Japan. In 2010, he played in London for the first time and performed in front of two sold-out audiences at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire before traveling to Norway for the Notodden Musikk Festival. In 2011, he played a highly acclaimed show at the O2 Arena in London; three sold-out shows in Ireland; and four shows in Scandinavia where he performed in front of a combined total of more than 40,000 fans.

Previous winners include Bellamy Brothers, Dierks Bentley, BR5 49, Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, The Mavericks, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, and Dwight Yoakam.