Last week, we talked with country star Brantley Gilbert about his personal life with singer and actress Jana Kramer, but as we learned, that’s only the half of it.
His professional life is about to blow up too. Brantley is set to embark on Tim McGraw’s Two Lanes of Freedom tour with Love and Theft.
He's also been in the studio recording music for an upcoming album and in his spare time Brantley and his fans, the BG Nation, have been raising awareness for a charitable organization called Outnumber Hunger.
We talked to Brantley about the upcoming tour, new music and how he gives back while on the road.
Out on tour
SheKnows: Your tour with Tim McGraw starts in May. How are you feeling about it?
Brantley Gilbert: I’m stoked. I’ve just been having nightmares about him knocking on my bus door saying it's time to work out.
SK: Are you not much of a workout buddy?
BG: No, not that at all. I lift. I’m a lifter. But the Crossfit thing… come on, man. The p90x thing? I get it… the people that do it. I have the most respect for them. I had a Crossfit trainer for a few weeks then I fired him. I’m not real flexible. I like doing burpees and stuff, but most of that requires you to bend in ways that somebody that’s got a bunch of football injuries can’t.
SK: So you’ve been talking about working out, then. Have you talked about any show logistics?
BG: Oh yeah. He won’t talk no trash to me, but he’s trying to make it like he’s gonna rock harder. It’s on!
SK: It’s on! What are you going to bring to the show to make sure you rock harder than Tim McGraw?
BG: I’m going bring two .45s smoking right out the holster and then I’mma put them back in the same way baby, you know.
SK: The Love and Theft guys, they can rock pretty hard too. They’re pretty crazy. How do you think you’re going to keep up with them?
BG: Ain't no keepin’ up. Ain't no keepin’ up. If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. I’m a big dog. I’m a Pit Bull, baby. It’s all good. We gonna run it.
SK: Have you talked to Love and Theft about the upcoming tour at all?
BG: We’re all really, really, really excited about it. You know, the process Tim went through in picking the band, he kept me in the loop on it and the whole process has been really cool. He’s been really personable and it’s actually turned into a friendship.
In the studio
SK: So can we expect to hear any new music on this tour?
BG: Oh yeah! We went to Italy and Kuwait. And I got back and I did something that wasn’t “industry standards.” Surprise, surprise, coming from me. I did what they call “leaking a song.” I had a demo of one of the songs going on the record, and I just put it up [online] for free. The label knows about it now, actually. That was an interesting phone call.
SK: Yeah? What was that phone call like?
BG: [laughs] I’m just kidding. They were all cool with it. I’m fortunate enough to have a president of my label that gets me and understands me and understands that sometimes crazy junk happens and he’s right on board with me. He loves it.
SK: Well that’s good. What other music have you been working on for this new album we’ve been hearing about?
BG: We’ve been in the studio. We’re done with the first four, and we’re starting on the next four next week. I go into the studio starting tomorrow.
SK: I’ve read multiple times that you don’t sing anything you don’t write, so can we expect some love songs on this next album now that you’re engaged and with “the one?”
BG: You know, I’ve been asked that question a bunch. And I can tell you… of course [Jana's] got a song on there because my albums always attach to my life. But what you gotta understand is we released the first album like four years ago. So there’s been a lot of crazy stuff happen between the end of that record and the beginning of this one. She’s definitely got a song on there, but there’s a lot of stuff on that record.
SK: When do you think your new album will be coming out? Do you have any goals or dates for that?
BG: I have goals and wishes, but I’m not sure they’re going to happen so I’m not going to say anything. We're working on it in the studio every chance we get. We’re working pretty diligently on it. So hopefully sooner than later.
SK: Are there any other collaborations in the works that you can talk about?
BG: I can’t tell you all my secrets!
In the community
SK: So Brantley, tell me about Outnumber Hunger.
BG: We did a show in Vegas when we were there for the ACM awards to raise awareness. I can honestly say that I was one of the unaware. I had no idea that one in six people in the United States — 50 million people — have hunger problems. I had no idea. I think in general, especially in country music, the whole country rallies together when we know there’s a problem. I think a lot of people are unaware, so we’re just trying to play the best role we can to spread awareness.
SK: How do you think your fans can help spread awareness about it?
BG: BG Nation is pretty diligent to say the least — they’re pretty active. They’re everything to us. They’re an extension of us. They’re not on the outside looking in. They’re friends of ours. They’re a part of our organization, a part of this movement we’re doing. Anything I dig into, they’re usually right on my heels too.
SK: What kind of feedback and support did you get from your BG Nation when you were supporting the cause?
BG: It was great. A lot of them made donations and we had a lot of feedback. Everything was positive. Nothing negative. Everybody’s on board. It’s a great cause and our whole label is involved with it. I know my label’s president and I knew going into this thing that he had the best work ethic in the business. When he came up with this Outnumber Hunger idea, I was surprised; I didn’t think it was something he’d be digging around in. But the whole label has been making a valued effort and I’m just so glad to be a part of it.
SK: Do you have any other plans in the works for supporting the cause even further? Any shows coming up or anything?
BG: There’s food banks everywhere across the country. If we’re on the bus and we’ve got a couple of hours to kill, we’re out helping pack some meals and spread awareness that way, and just show up and hang out and talk and work a little bit.
Will you be seeing Brantley on tour with Tim McGraw and Love and Theft? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit: Judy Eddy/WENN