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Brantley Gilbert Will Mirror Aspects of Toby Keith, Eric Church Tours on Headlining Trek

Brantley GIlbert
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

To say that 2012 has been Brantley Gilbert‘s year would still be a bit of an understatement. The soft-spoken country rocker has been setting the touring trail ablaze since the start of the year, when he spent several weeks opening up for Eric Church on his Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour, before jumping right into the middle slot on Toby Keith‘s Live in Overdrive Tour.

This fall, Gilbert will be launching his very first headlining trek, simply called the Hell on Wheels Tour, and will be bringing along the likes of Uncle Kracker and Greg Bates as his supporting acts. With the big road stints with Church and Keith under his belt, Gilbert says he has learned a lot about how to handle major tours, all of which he will apply to his own run starting in September.

“The comradery we’ve experienced between crews is something I’ve taken away from both tours, just seeing the way that everybody gets along,” Gilbert tells Taste of Country. “We’re forming friend ships for probably the rest of our careers and the rest of our lives. Everybody on our team is experiencing the same thing. It might sound like a little thing in a way from the music side of things, but that’s a really cool aspect of it, is getting to know these guys.”

“Eric, as a person and being out with him, we actually formed a friendship and had a chance to write together,” Gilbert continues. “We still text and talk. He’s a great guy and a great performer. We really got a chance to see how he runs his show. There were definitely things we are going to take away from that one. All of his crew guys appreciate being there. They were having a really good time, and that rubbed off on our guys.”

Gilbert had similarly positive things to say about what he took from Toby Keith’s tour.

“I think the coolest thing about it — other than opening for Toby Keith, which is a pretty cool thing — I have formed relationships with a lot of his crew guys and band members,” the ‘You Don’t Know Her Like I Do’ singer notes. “All of those guys have been with him for years and years and years. They are really happy, doing what they’re doing. That’s one of my long-term goals in this whole thing, is for everybody in this organization to look back at it, whenever it does end, and go, ‘You know what man… that dude did right by me.’ I want to be 15 or 20 years down the road and have my guys talk about how proud they are and how happy they are to be part of what’s going on. Picking that up from those guys has really been a great experience.”

He adds with a laugh, “Watching Toby onstage is a whole other joy in itself. He’s a trip, man! He’s a great writer and a great artist. He’s been doing it a long time. There are definitely several aspects of the way they run their show that have rubbed off on us and that I think we’ll mirror on our premiere tour.”

The Hell on Wheels Tour will kick off in Lafayette, Ind. on Sept. 27. Click here for a full list of dates where the tour will be stopping along the way.

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