There are two things country newcomer Brantley Gilbert wishes he could bring on the road with him: his motorcycle and his dog. The Georgia born singer tells Taste of Country there's just no space for the bike, and as for his pit bull -- she doesn't always get along well with others.

"She’s protective of Daddy," Gilbert says proudly. The dog's name is Alley, and she came to Gilbert one night before a show at Whiskey River in Macon, Ga. "There were some guys feeding her beer and bar food and stuff from the bar and kinda trying to get her drunk, and I thought it was that guy's dog. And it got time for show time and I was out back doing a meet and greet, and they got ready to come inside for the show and he threw a beer bottle at her."

The 'Country Must Be Country Wide' singer is a longtime dog lover, calling a miniature dachshund the best Christmas gift he ever received. Instinctively, he tried to protect the pup.

"At that point he was done with her. I didn’t like that a bit so he and I had a little … conversation, I guess you could call it [laughs], and I called her to me. She came straight to me, and they fed her for me and kept her outside the bar, and when I was done with the show I took her to the hotel and had a friend of mine come pick her up in Alabama, and when I got home off the road she was mine."

Gilbert's mom watches Alley while he travels these days. The singer makes a habit of writing songs about the most important people in his life ('Indiana's Angel' is about his mother, for instance) so it shouldn't surprise fans if the next album includes a tribute to the pit bull. For now, he's sticking with the songs on 'Halfway to Heaven' as he prepares for the Taste of Country Christmas Tour, which kicks off in November.

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