For Brantley Gilbert, his back-to-back platinum success comes from writing about his life – and watching the people who live like he does respond. If Halfway To Heaven was the story of a young man in the clutches of all it means to be wild, and Just As I Am considered the consequences of the life and the good times getting there, The Devil Don’t Sleep marks the next phase of the working class country icon in the making’s life.
Sixteen songs on the regular disc. Ten more on the Deluxe Edition. It’s a whole lot of music from country music’s hardest hitting songwriter/artist. It’s also a lot of life lived.
“A lot has happened,” marvels the man nominated for CMA Song of the Year for Jason Aldean’s signature “Dirt Road Anthem.” “And anyone who knows me knows that every album is another chapter of my life. Even though it’s my life, even though some of what I write about is very specific to what happens to me, I think the challenges, the places where we figure things out are all the same – no matter what we’re facing, realizations all mean the same things.”
Though “The Weekend” explodes as one of Gilbert’s industrial strength five o’clock Friday party anthems, The Devil Don’t Sleep works a celebratory tip for other reasons. As Gilbert is quick to point out, the songs offer a cautionary undertow because, as the title suggests, temptation is a non-stop reality – and people need vigilance to avoid backsliding into the very things that defeat them.
“By now, everyone knows the story turned out okay for me,” laughs the man who sold out his entire BlackOut arena tour last winter, as well as his Take It Outside amphitheater tour which closed with two nights at Red Rocks. “But the truth is there’s always temptation, there’s always something – whether it’s work or substances or gambling or whatever – that can pull you off the path. For me, thankfully, I got through it, got the girl back, got to keep my career moving…”
As a tortured soul trying to walk the straight and narrow but always feeling the pull of the devil’s right hand, The Devil Don’t Sleep is supplemented with a Deluxe version that captures the roots of his songwriting and the essence of his blistering live shows. The expanded package represents a fuller look into the hard-hitting songwriter’s journey to where he is now: one of four country artists to mine back-to-back platinum albums for sticking to his unapologetically rock-country hybrid on Halfway To Heaven and Just As I Am, six #1s including Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kind of Party” and his own “Country Music Be Country Wide,” “Bottoms Up,” “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” and the deeply personal “One Hell Of An Amen,” two consecutive sold-out headlining tours and the love of the girl he lost along the way and the 2014 American Music Award for Favorite Country Album.
Tapping into the outlier, the roughneck, the downhome and the downtrodden, the songwriter/rocker from Jefferson, Georgia tears music from actual life, Gilbert knows vigilance is required even in the best of times. Gilbert admits, “Trying to get the whole story on the album was a little more than we’d bargained for. We tried every which way, but in the end, it seemed like we needed to do the straight-up record. But then for the folks who really go deep, I wanted to give them a piece of the last year on the road. We recorded live at Red Rocks at the end of the tour, and you can feel how hard they rocked. And I wanted that on this record…”
And he’s also heard the fans, who keep asking for older songs that have never been available on record. Amongst the previously unreleased tracks to be included on The Devil Don’t Sleep Deluxe are “You Promised,” with over 24 million YouTube views and “I’ve Been There Before.”
“Life isn’t just chapters,” explains the songwriter/rocker. “What happens before influences what happens next. Not always the way you’d expect. Sometimes you don’t even see it ‘til later. But with these CDs, I feel like it’s the story and then more of the story. You know, depending on how deep you want to go, it’s a way to understand the journey to The Devil Don’t Sleep.”
The Devil Don’t Sleep arrives Jan. 27th.
See Gilbert Take This Music to the Road on his The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour
Feb. 2 Reading, PA Santander Arena
Feb. 3 State College, PA Bryce Jordan Center
Feb 4 Portland, ME Cross Insurance Arena
Feb. 9 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
Feb. 10 Cape Girardeau, MO Show Me Center
Feb. 11 Charleston, WV Charleston Civic Center
Feb. 16 Glens Falls, NY Glens Falls Civic
Feb 17 Youngstown, OH Covelli Centre
Feb 18 Florence, SC Florence Civic Center
Feb 23 Evansville, IN Ford Center
Feb 24 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Feb 25 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
March 2 Rosemont, IL Rosemont Theater
March 3 Moline, IL iWireless Center
March 4 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
March 16 Baton Rouge, LA Baton Rouge River Center
March 17 Jackson, MS Mississippi Coliseum
March 18 Corbin, KY Corbin Arena
April 6 Saginaw, MI Dow Event Center
April 7 Bloomington, IL US Cellular Center
April 8 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
April 20 Bossier City, LA CenturyLink Center (LA)
April 22 Southaven, MS Landers Center
April 28 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena @ Iowa Events Center
April 29 Duluth, MN AMSOIL Arena
ALL Dates Subject to Change; Check with Local Venue Before Traveling Long Distances