I'd like to start off by leveling with you about a few things. Things you might not know from merely listening to my radio show. First is that I love music, but not just the country music we play on Lonestar. This is primarily because I'm a musician myself and I'm passionate about dissecting and savoring all the different flavors of music.Unfortunately this perpetual pursuit of greater understanding and deeper appreciation for all music doesn't come without the tendency to make one a bit pretentious and extra critical of some of the works and movements by newer artist. All of that being said, I had my fair share of judgments the first time I heard of a guy named Brantley Gilbert.

I remember I was sitting in the Lonestar studio and his now-hit "Country Must be Country Wide" had just made it's way into our song rotation. "Brantey Gilbert", I thought to myself before ever listening to one of his tunes, "Here's a guy who probably writes a lot about Budweiser, string bikinis, mudding in lifted trucks, wrastlin', cutoff shorts, moonshine, and doing more stuff in lifted trucks" stuff I don't generally share a lot of appreciation for (with exception to the string bikinis). Turns out I was mostly right about Gilbert, and for the next few months I really didn't pay much attention to his music or escalating career. I won't lie and say these months were easy. Hillary Clinton was dealing with the aftershocks of wiki leaks, the world was dealing with the aftershocks of the Muslim Spring, I was dealing with a breakup, Wichita Falls was voted the number one worst summer city by the Weather Channel, and worst of all, I had no Brantley Gilbert music to help soothe the toils of this miniature existential crisis.

Eventually, however, things calmed down. Hillary returned home to share a green bean casserole and nice conversation with Bill, the world went to just mostly-crazy instead of numerous-large-

governments-being-overturned crazy, a shrink and some mountain climbing made me stop worrying about things I couldn't change, and I finally had decided to see what this Brantley Gilbert guy was all about.

My process was the same as it is for any new artist I discover. One internet tab was dedicated to a Brantly Gilbert youtube playlist, the next to his Wikipedia writeup, the next to his official website, and the next several to newspaper writeups about Gilbert. What I began to find was a guy that I really could relate to. He wrote songs that had a way of getting my pulse going and making me roll the car windows down. So many artist today let the true soul of their songs get buried in heavy studio production and thick compression. Brantley's tunes took me to places with lots of close friends, cold beer, festive chilli pepper lights, beat-up guitars, and the smell of BBQ in the air. His sound is fresh and alive with heavy southern rock influence, country elements, and brushes of classic blues and even bluegrass find light from time to time.

I started developing a much deeper relationship with Gilbert's music when I learned of a near fatal car crash at age 19 that inspired him to take up music as a day job.  I read numerous interviews from Gilbert talking about the crash and it's affect on him. I began to realize that here was a guy who isn't just about Budweiser, mudding, and scantily clad women, but rather living for more than a paycheck and a house to grow bored and old in. Brantly Gilbert set out to chase dreams, and now he's living them.

Of course I don't expect you to take my word about all of this. Come see Brantley for yourself December 9th at the Denim and Diamonds nightclub in Wichita Falls. Join myself and the rest of Lonestar staff for the Taste of Country Christmas Tour. The event will be not only my first Brantley Gilbert show, but a guaranteed good time for all!