It’s been a big year for country artist Brantley Gilbert.
In January, the 32-year-old released “The Devil Don’t Sleep,” his follow-up album to his double-platinum streak with “Halfway to Heaven” and “Just As I Am.”
Then in February, he kicked off his “Devil Don’t Sleep” tour in Reading, Pa. That same month, he found out that his wife Amber and he (who had previously struggled with fertility) are expecting their first child.
Given his penchant for candidly sharing about his life during his concerts, Gilbert’s fans are likely to gain insight into those big changes and more when he takes the stage Friday night at PNC Music Pavilion.
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Here are five things to expect from his concert this week:
1. More of the same, but this time, with more production effects. Gilbert said he subscribes to an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality when it comes to music. “Our fans are so supportive and so dedicated. We really enjoy what we’ve done so far in the past and we try not to get too far from that,” he said of writing the songs on his latest album. Still, he did say fans can expect new production effects on stage. “There is a lot of fire this year, and explosions. There’s a lot of video content. That’s one of those things people will have to come and see.”
2. Candid songs about everything from fighting your demons to finding forgiveness. Gilbert said one of his favorite songs on his new album is “Three Feet of Water” because it “is close to my heart.” He described how Cledus T. Judd approached him about the spiritual song on forgiveness and salvation. Gilbert said he has a similar feeling about this song that he did for his song, “One Hell of an Amen”: “I don’t know what it’s going to change or what it’s going to do, but I have a feeling that it’s going to do something.”
3. Glimpses into his married life, and maybe even a mention of his son. Gilbert said “The Devil Don’t Sleep” has his wife’s “fingerprints all over it.” In fact, the new record covers from the time when she came back into Gilbert’s life to now. And although he didn’t know he was going to be a father before the album was released, fans might even get to hear a little about his soon-to-be fatherhood. Gilbert and his wife found out this February that they are expecting a boy. In true country fashion, the couple’s gender-reveal party in June consisted of Brantley shooting a rifle at a target, waiting for it to blow blue dust for a boy or pink dust for a girl. “I’m excited to see what life throws at me or what challenges and joys there are to being a dad,” he said.
4. One last opportunity to see him performing before he takes extended time off. Gilbert said he loves being on the road, especially when he can hear how songs have changed fans’ lives. But starting in late September, he’ll be doing something he said he’s never done before: enjoying an extended break. Said Gilbert: “I’ll take time off through January and focus on being at home, being a husband and being a daddy.”
5. A bro-country camaraderie as Gilbert performs with friends Tyler Farr and Luke Combs. “They’re awesome performers, awesome writers and awesome friends of mine,” said Gilbert. “I can’t wait for people to see what they have to offer. It’s going to be a party.”
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.
Tickets: $24 and up.
Details: 800-745-3000; www.livenation.com.