Brantley Gilbert: Country rocker ready to get back out on tour in 2022 (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)
Chart-topping performer opens 2022 Azalea Festival concert series on April 7th
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Country music star Brantley Gilbert is bringing his high-energy show to Wilmington! Gilbert will kick off the concert series for the 2022 North Carolina Azalea Festival, taking the stage at Live Oak Pavilion on Thursday night, April 7. Not only will it be the first show for this year’s festival, it will also be the first show of Gilbert’s 2022 tour.
“We’re really excited just to be back to work in general,” the Georgia native said. “But any chance we get to come to your state is always an awesome time. Azalea Fest is one of those that you hear about, everybody in the business plays and looks forward to the opportunity and we’re ready to get there and party with you guys.”
Like many performers, Gilbert could not play as many live shows as he wanted to in the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In previous years, he toured with some of the biggest names in country music, including Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, playing dozens of sold-out shows every year. Gilbert currently has seven shows scheduled for 2022, and it seems he’d like to add more to that list.
“I’m a ‘Road Dog’, I guess, so to speak,” he said. “We came up a little bit old school and we just kind of beat the pavement up is what we’ve always done. You know, COVID comes along and puts me at home for a lot longer than I’m used to or programmed to be at this point. So, I think I’m about as ready to get back out as my wife is ready for me to get back out. I think she married me with the understanding I’d be gone a lot, and that hasn’t necessarily been the case recently. So uh, yeah, we’re excited to get back at it, and excited to come to your state. It’s gonna be a great time.”
Gilbert hasn’t released a record of new material since 2019′s Fire & Brimstone, his third straight album to reach #1 on the Billboard Country chart. It included the single What Happens in a Small Town, which also reached #1 and is certified Gold with the Recording Industry Association of America. But Gilbert has been busy creating new music, and he’s hoping to have a new record released soon. Until then, fans can watch videos for new songs like Gone But Not Forgotten and How To Talk To Girls on brantleygilbert.com.
“How To Talk To Girls is a song that we wrote a while back at my farm,” he remembered. “We wrote when Bray (his daughter Braylen) was really, really young. She’s two now. It’s a special song to me, you know, it obviously gets really close to home. I know there are a lot of dads out there like me that right now, I think my main struggle with talking to her is telling her ‘no’, you know. That song talks about that. She’s kind of got daddy wrapped around that little finger. But I can say that a lot of this album is reflective, and reminiscent, for a lot of reasons. One, you know, we like to rock a little bit. Let’s just say that in the last seven or eight years of my life, you know, the ‘married with kids’ thing has kind of been the deal. Things are a little more calm than they used to be. So, to get into that side of things, sometimes we have to dig back a little bit. But it’s an exciting record, and I’m really excited to get it out.”
Gilbert has become a fixture at or near the top of the country charts since his career began. His second album, Halfway to Heaven, released in 2010, climbed Billboard’s #2 position on its way to achieving Platinum status. It spawned two number one singles, Country Must Be Country-Wide and You Don’t Know Her Like I Do. The album Just As I Am, released in 2014, also reached Platinum on the way to #1, and included the chart-topping single Bottoms Up. His 2017 effort, The Devil Don’t Sleep, hit #1 on the album chart, reached Gold status with another top-ten single The Weekend. Gilbert has set a high bar for success, and it’s one he hopes to surpass with every new release.
“Well, for me, it’s about staying motivated and driven in the best way for me to do that has been to keep my head down,” Gilbert said. “I know a lot of people have asked me through the years, ‘When did you know you’d made it?’ To me, in my heart of hearts, I still legitimately feel like we haven’t made it yet. Stopping to smell the roses has never really been my strong suit. I feel like there’s only so many hours in a day and, you know, if I keep my head down and my feet moving, I’m not letting anybody that’s in our crew or in our band or their family, down. That’s kind of where it all stays. I’m motivated now by being a dad and a husband and wanting to provide a future for my children and putting food on the table for a lot of families. We kind of just make short-term goals as opposed to long term, and the minute we accomplish something we’re moving on to the next one.”
Click here for information on tickets for Brantley Gilbert’s upcoming show April 7th at Live Oak Pavilion in downtown Wilmington. I hope you enjoy the conversation with him as much as I did.
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