Black Music Matters Festival

Gilbert, Ell team up for "What Happens in a Small Town"

Monday, December 10, 2018 – Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell teamed up to record "What Happens in a Small Town," which goes to country radio Dec. 14.

Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne and Rhett Akins wrote the song produced by Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Megadeth, Midland, Kane Brown). The song includes the lines

"What happens in a small town/ Stays in a small town/ Every back road we've ever gone down/ Friday night bleachers, Sunday pews/ Ain't a county line mile without a memory of you..."

"This song builds and burns," Gilbert said. "It really has that want for someone you can't have, and having to live in all the places they are. I wanted to have someone on the record who could match those feelings, to really push the song. It's not just any female who makes sense, and we knew that. But Lindsay is a whole other kind of artist, and she understands that power."

Ell also played guitar on the song. "Lindsay plays with the same emotion that she sings with," Gilbert said. "Her voice is as intense on that guitar as it is when it comes out of her mouth. It's awesome, and it's something Dann and I both knew we wanted."

"It was great that they wanted me to play," Ell said. "To be part of a song like this is great, but to be asked to play on someone's song who I respect so much takes it up another level. Obviously playing in front of Dann Huff is something else, but he knew how to really push me - and get a vocal that contains everything situations like this one are made of."

Gilbert said the song came from his life's experiences. "Songs that come from your life just have another kind of power," Gilbert said. "People can hear the difference, and they know. For this song, obviously I'm not the only guy - or girl - who's been there, but I'm lucky/blessed enough to have been able to put it back together."

"Music, especially music that rocks this hard, crashes through pride, ego and whatever else is in the way," Ell said. "Being able to play on this opened up the feelings to me. When I went in to do the vocal, it was all about really channeling that pain."

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