Brantley Gilbert (CJ Hicks)Brantley Gilbert has just spent the night driving all the way from Detroit to Nashville--in a snowstorm--to make his next scheduled gig, the exclusive invite-only Ram Jam concert. It was a grueling journey, but he can't let down his fans. After all, they've been waiting all year for this!
Gilbert doesn't look even the slightest bit tired, however, when he drops by backstage to talk about his participation in the show. It's clear that he is totally jazzed to be part of the event.
When Ram Trucks launched an all-star country music series, "The Road To Ram Jam," early in the year, the concept was simple. Bring fans closer to artists they love by offering exclusive content--as well the chance to score passes to the invite-only show at the end of the year. Gilbert was the second of five artists selected for the Ram Jam (along with the Zac Brown Band, Kellie Pickler, Easton Corbin, and Billy Currington) and he was given a Ram Truck of his own to drive for a year.
Indeed, the annual lease on a pretty darn sweet vehicle was surely one of the best things about being a Ram Jam artist. Gilbert laughs and admits it: "I got a pretty cool truck for a year!" He quickly grows serious, however, noting "It definitely goes to a great cause."
All the trucks will be auctioned off in January to benefit charities of each artist's own choice. Gilbert decided to support Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country's largest non-profit dedicated to supporting the 2.4 million vets of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
The organization hits close to Gilbert's heart, as he has two cousins who have served in those countries, and has witnessed some frightening moments talking to them over webcam.
However, aside from the good feeling he's getting from helping vets, Gilbert also just plain enjoyed driving his Ram truck around his favorite digs. When asked where was the most exciting place he took the truck during his lease, the singer had a surprisingly down-to-earth response: "I just finished my new house in Georgia, we got to stay there for a couple of days, right around my hometown," he noted.
After the truck is auctioned, Gilbert is ready to turn his attention to work. He has a big tour coming up, which he can't give all the details on yet, "But we're excited about that." He also has plans for new material, too. His last album came out in 2010, and he says he hopes to start on the next one in 2013.
As for New Year's resolutions? "I haven't quite decided on that yet," Gilbert says, but he seems to have good health as one goal. He noted that avoiding drinking is probably on his list. "I'm gonna stay on that kick."
Be sure to stream the Ram Jam concert live on Ram Country starting at 5 p.m. ET--just visit here to join the fun!