With Rolling Stone calling THE DEVIL DON’T SLEEP (The Valory Music Co.) one of the year’s Best of Country and Americana so far this year, alongside Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Alison Krauss, Nikki Lane and Jason Isbell, it feels like the critics are recognizing the lived-in truth of the Georgia born, raised and living songwriter thoroughly inhabits. But to understand the back-to-back PLATINUM success of HALFWAY TO HEAVEN and JUST WHO I AM, it comes down to understanding the bond between BRANTLEY GILBERT and his fans, known as the BG Nation.
With a tireless hard-ticket touring schedule that focuses on the Rust Belt, Northeast, West and entire South, it’s tricky being in the right place at the right time to catch him. So when the Opry Entertainment Group wanted to kick-off a new series dedicated to the fans, they knew exactly who the right artist to set their tone was: Brantley Gilbert and the always zealous BG Nation.
“When the Opry people came to us about kicking off their series Fandom,” recalls the man who won the American Music Awards Best Country Album for Just Who I Am, “I was all about it. We didn’t quite know how it was going to work, but I knew wherever they went, they were going to find the very best people in the world.
“When we got into taping, it was so much about Marc and Tina (Schardan) — I loved that! Loved the idea viewers would get a sense how blessed I am, because they were going to get to see what I see: the kind of soul I see every night when I go out and meet the people who love this music.”
With Rolling Stone calling Gilbert’s latest single “the soundtrack to Friday night in small towns everywhere,” it’s that ability to tap into how people between the coasts, the ones who work hard 60 hour weeks, that’s given the man whose penned six No. 1 singles, including Jason Aldean’s CMA Awards Song of the Year nominated “Dirt Road Anthem,” such a passion point with the BG Nation.
“Even before we had a record label, there were people who believed in this music. They believed in the things I was writing about, and they came to the shows, because my songs were their life. When you talk to the BG Nation, that’s what they say. But when you hear their stories, listen to them talk about their lives, that’s when what we do out on the road and in the studio gets real.”
Saying and seeing are two different things. To check out what “Fandom: Fully Committed” is all about, go to People.com (link live at 10:00A ET) – and meet one of the diehard fans who believe in Gilbert’s full-throttle way of life.
“What I love is they make it about Marc! I mean, there’s a little of us in there, but it’s really about one of so many awesome people who believe – and live – this music,” Gilbert says. “The BG Nation are friends. They don’t get enough credit in what we do, for how they inspire us – and the way they share their lives with us through how the music is part of their life. So, I love everything about this show. And having just done our baby announcement with People, well, they understand why friends and family are so important. So where else would we debut this?”
“Fandom: Fully Committed” is dedicated – like Gilbert – to showing people the essence of what makes Country music lovers special. They set a high bar with BG Nation, who begin coming together again as THE ONE’S THAT LIKE ME 2018 TOUR kicks off February 1 at Worcester, MA’s DCU Center.