Brantley Gilbert on Kenny Chesney’s “Kumbaya” Vibe

"It’s Something Like I’ve Never Seen," He Says

When you open a tour for an artist like Kenny Chesney, it must feel kind of like Headlining 101. I mean, there are no textbooks, no lectures and presumably no tests. But you’d learn new things every day.

And not just from Chesney.

It sounds like Brantley Gilbert is letting the crowd teach him a few things, too, like how one crowd can have two distinct listening personalities.

“It’s completely black and white,” Gilbert told Billboard of the differences in the crowd vibe. “When we’re onstage, it’s pretty intense, real loud. They got their rock faces on, the head-banging. A lot of the crowd that doesn’t usually listen to that kind of music is having fun with it, because they see how much everybody else is having fun.”

When Gilbert and his band make room for the headliner, though, the head-banging stops.

“But when Kenny Chesney comes onstage, it’s something like I’ve never seen,” he said. “These people have literally got their arms around each other singing ’Kumbaya.’ There’s a healing, feel-good, buddy-buddy (feeling) going through the stadium of thousands of people. You can watch that transition happen.”

Gilbert will be on Chesney’s tour for the remainder of the summer.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.