Brantley Gilbert on New Music: 'We Made a No Rules Record'

Brantley Gilbert's latest single, "What Happens in a Small Town," a duet with Lindsay Ell, is also the first from his upcoming fifth studio record. While his current hit might be a heartbreaking ballad, Gilbert promises the entire project has a little bit of something for everyone.

“I was kind of born on the outside of the box and I think I’ll probably die that way," Gilbert maintained. "I mean, you’re going to have what you’re used to. You’ll have over the over-the-top rocker and you’ll have a little bit genre crossover. The main thing with this record was we made no rules record. If a song was leaning towards a rock song, we let it be a rock song. If it was leading towards another genre and let it be what it was and that was a lot of fun for me as a songwriter.

"Not a lot of pressure," he added. "Not trying to go in and water anything down so it’ll sound good on radio. Just go in and make the song the best version of itself.”

Gilbert wrote "What Happens in a Small Town" after his record was almost done, but needed one more song. When Gilbert realized the song sounded like it needed another voice, Ell was tapped to do the job.

"It sounded like a duet from the beginning and it stayed that way all the way through it," Gilbert recalled of writing the song. "After we finished the writing on it, you go in and who's the right match to do the duet? ... It was my first male, female duet and had to be right. I'm kind of obsessive, compulsive about everything. A lot of thought went into it and we looked at the genre crossover ourselves and I was talking to Scott one day and he brought Lindsay's name up and it just clicked."

Gilbert is forever a fan of Ell after recording "What Happened in a Small Town," both as a guitarist and a vocalist.

"I always remember the way she played and man ... what you see is what you get," Gilbert gushed. "She's so genuine. When everybody around her wants good things to happen for her and have the same things to say about her, it solidifies the notion that she is the whole deal. She's not just a pretty face."


Download "What Happens in a Small Town" on iTunes.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Alberto E. Rodriguez