Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley co-hosts the 44th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday on ABC.

A CMA Awards host for the third consecutive year, Brad Paisley wouldn't mind a fourth straight time for something else.

The amiable singer-songwriter has been named male vocalist of the year at the event the past three times, and he'll be up for the honor again -- as well as entertainer of the year and music video of the year (for "Water") -- as he reteams with Carrie Underwood to preside over ABC's telecast of the 44th annual edition of the country music ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 10, from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

"The years go faster and faster the longer I'm around," Paisley muses of reaching CMA Awards time again, "but I guess time's flying, because we're having a good time. It's amazing how this sneaks up on you. It seems like just yesterday that we were coming up with the bits for last year, and here we go again."

And Paisley is going again with newlywed Underwood in a professional partnership he clearly enjoys.

"We just are great friends," he says. "We've been pretty close ever since we toured together. I think that was the first tour she went out on. She's a great person and a great collaborator. You're not dealing with a diva in any way, and she contributes a lot. Some of the best ideas for the show last year were hers."

Paisley and Underwood also are slated to perform at the CMA Awards, as are Taylor Swift; Reba McEntire; Keith Urban; Kenny Chesney; Rascal Flatts; Sugarland; Lady Antebellum; George Strait; Dierks Bentley; Miranda Lambert (with Sheryl Crow); Lambert's fiance, Blake Shelton; and the Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson. The prospect of a fourth consecutive CMA Awards win as male vocalist of the year strikes Paisley as "ridiculous," in the sense of it being overwhelming. He adds that the nomination for entertainer of the year is especially significant to him this year.

"I've begun to think about it a lot," he says, "especially with the year we've had, coming through the flood … and the way that everyone has had to step it up to make this all work. My crew has become what I think is the best crew in all of touring, with the attitude they maintain. I want this award for these people, because it's theirs as much as mine if we win it."

If the 44th Annual CMA Awards sends a "come back to Nashville" message to the public, Paisley is all for it. After losing much of his equipment in the flooding that ravaged the city earlier this year, he has played a visible role in various activities to show the country music capital is well on its way back to full health.

"It's really come a long way," Paisley says. "The (Grand Ole) Opry being back is metaphorical and fairly representative of the steps that a lot of people have taken. I know one thing: Nashville didn't take this lying down. There are different ways you can deal with this sort of devastation. One is to feel sorry for yourself and wait on help. The other is to try to fix it yourself, and that's what I think our city really has been doing."

The husband of former "According to Jim" co-star Kimberly Williams-Paisley has just released his first greatest-hits collection, "Hits Alive." He's proud that it represents his career's slow and steady trajectory.

"All of a sudden, we had more hits than we could play in a show," Paisley says, "People have been very kind and stuck with me, which is not any exception in country music, and it's an honor to still be around."