Brantley Gilbert Would ‘Probably Be Dead’ Without Keith Urban’s Intervention
Brantley Gilbert is speaking candidly about his battle with addiction — and why he credits Keith Urban with helping to save his life.
In an interview with Nashville's Tennessean, Gilbert opens up about his longstanding fight with drugs and alcohol, which landed him in rehab in 2011. He reveals that his drinking began when he was young, frequenting parties in high school where his drinking habits kicked in full force. A drunken fight and nearly fatal car wreck at the age of 19 led him to judge-ordered group therapy sessions and 12-step meetings that didn't really stick.
But he finally sought help in 2011 at Nashville-based rehab facility Cumberland Heights, where he met face-to-face with Keith Urban, a fellow recovering addict, to whom he opened up about his fears following sobriety. Urban had been to rehab several years before, and Gilbert's counselors brought him in to speak to Gilbert after he decided to leave treatment against medical advice.
“I told him, I don’t think I can do my job. I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being (messed) up," Gilbert tells the newspaper. "Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level. It’s a drinking environment.”
Brantley Gilbert Says The Devil Don't Sleep Is a Reminder
Gilbert reveals that the "Blue Ain't Your Color" singer had once had the same fears as him, but Urban told him that his sobriety makes him a better performer — and person. “If it weren’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be sober or be in this business anymore. I’d probably be dead," he reflects.
He is now five years sober, living life with wife Amber Cochran. The two wed in 2015 after Gilbert called off his engagement to country singer and actor Jana Kramer in 2013.
All of the singer's past struggles are chronicled in his new album, The Devil Don't Sleep, which is set to drop on Friday (Jan. 27) and features 16 tracks.
“Decisions are always there to make, and The Devil Don’t Sleep, for me, is always just being aware that I am an addict,” Gilbert tells Nash Country Daily. “I’m a recovering addict, but I’ll always be an addict. Those temptations are there. There’s a lot of roads that go left. It’s about just appreciating the fact that God has blessed me so much in this chapter of my life, and appreciating my marriage and that relationship that is so fulfilling to me. It’s my life. She’s my best friend. She’s the best player on our team. It’s just about appreciating those things, but, at the same time, being conscious that the shadows are right around the corner.”