Sizzling country star Brantley Gilbert will put a cap on the last day of the State Fair on Saturday.
One of country’s hottest acts is looking to scorch Saturday night at the finale of the 98th Delaware State Fair.
To his fans, he’s affectionately known as BG. To everyone else, he’s the country-rock hybrid Brantley Gilbert.
“We come to throw down, and the BG Nation knows how to do that,” said the multi-platinum country artist, who last played the fair in 2014.
‘His music has an impact’
Smyrna fans Kylie McCusker, 18, and Ashley Blaeuer, 16, have been stoked about the BG show since February.
“We actually were in the car on our way home from volleyball practice,” McCusker said, “and Ashley was reading an article about the state fair lineup.
“She said, ‘Oh my gosh, Brantley Gilbert is playing the State Fair.’ I said, ‘oh my gosh, I love him!’ Ashley said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said, ‘sure.’ It was very impulsive.”
The show will be the teens’ first Brantley Gilbert concert.
“His music has an impact on me, because his lyrics aren’t like any other country artists; it comes from him and his past experiences,” Blaeuer said. “It’s almost like I’m able to feel the way he was [feeling] at that time.”
Gilbert bears his soul
BG Nation (Gilbert’s fan base) adores the country star, partly due to his willingness to share very personal and vulnerable information about himself in his music.
He’s continued that tradition on his new album, “The Devil Don’t Sleep,” released earlier this year. It gets its name from the idea that Satan is always lurking in the shadows.
The record boasts 16 tunes and highlights BG’s previous battle with alcohol. He’s been sober since 2011.
“It makes him feel more like a real person instead of an untouchable celebrity,” McCusker said of BG’s openness to talk about his past struggles.
Gilbert explained his mantra has always been to sing about his experiences, good or bad.
“I say every album is a chapter of my life,” Gilbert said. “Even more than the hits, it’s a story of who I am, the things that happen and how it shapes my life.”
“Devil Don’t Sleep” features the hit single “The Weekend.” The album is a follow-up to Gilbert’s 2014 platinum-selling “Just As I Am,” which earned him an American Music Award for Favorite Country Album that same year.
Prior to that, BG dropped another platinum-selling album with his 2010 effort and sophomore release, “Halfway to Heaven.”
BG and his peers Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Luke Bryan are the only country artists to ever release back-to-back platinum-selling albums.
Gilbert, 32, said he didn’t get trapped into thinking he had to make another platinum record with “Devil Don’t Sleep.” Instead, he just did what he’s always done: write songs from the heart and let the chips fall where they may.
“I have to live my life, let it sink in and then write the songs,” he said. “For me, I don’t rush the music. I want it to be right. But then I also want to give the fans as much music as they deserve.”
‘Going to be memorable’
Gilbert grew up in Jefferson, Ga., where he lives with his wife, Amber, who’s expecting their first child, a boy due in November.
BG, a man of faith, said his son is a miracle because he and his wife tried many times to conceive a child, but to no avail.
The country singer said he’s been preparing for fatherhood, yet he believes experience will be his best teacher.
For now, however, BG is living in the moment on his national tour, gigging at various state fairs and amphitheaters through September.
Delaware State Fair assistant general manager Danny Aguilar said he’s glad to have BG back in Harrington this weekend.
“Brantley Gilbert’s connection to his fans is second to none,” Aguilar said. “This show is a great way to close the 2017 fair.”
BG fan McCusker is anticipating an unforgettable show.
“I’m super excited,” she said. “It is actually my first concert at the State Fair, so it’s definitely going to be memorable.”