A lot of big things can possibly happen even in a small town. Similarly, small towns can be settings of stories about the lives and experiences of great personalities. It happened to country star Brantley Gilbert, and he narrated his experience on his new country-rock power ballad “What Happens in a Small Town.” While the story told in the song is purely about him, he shared the recording with another big name in the music industry, Lindsay Ell.
What happens in a small town according to Gilbert?
Without going around the bush, the song tackles the painful breakup story of the protagonist and his then-girlfriend. The small town where they lived was a silent witness to the memories, good or bad, that they both shared. Now that the couple had parted ways, the singer struggles to get past the memory of his former lover. Every familiar landmark he sees reminds him so much of her.
In an interview, Gilbert revealed that the sad story he is crooning is his own and the female character is no other than his now-wife Amber Cochran. The singer grew up in the small town of Jefferson and that’s also where he first met Cochran. They tied the knot in 2015 after going through an on and off a relationship. This was apparently his inspiration for writing the song.
“That’s one of the great things about being in a relationship with a goodbye in it,” said Gilbert. “It’s easy to write those breakup songs when you know how it ends,” he added.
Collaborating with Lindsay Ell
The up and rising Canadian country singer was the biggest surprise in Gilbert’s single. Ell showcased her vocals and guitar skills in the recording. This was also the first time that he had a duet with a female artist. While Gilbert was co-writing the song with Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne, and Rhett Akins, he slowly realized that it’s best to have it as a duet record. Lindsay Ell was the first person that he thought of and he immediately reached out to her.
The two singers first met when Gilbert brought his wife and brother-in-law to the Grand Ole Opry. At that time Ell was performing on stage and Gilbert instantly became a fan of her. Not only was he impressed with her singing ability but also her guitar prowess.
“Lindsay plays with the same emotion that she sings with,” Gilbert confirmed. “Her voice is as intense on that guitar as it is when it comes out of her mouth.”
When asked by Gilbert, the 30-year-old singer immediately agreed to have a duet record with him.
“He has this rock side to him that is the basis of my heart and what endeared me to music to begin with,” Ell tells ToC, referring to Gilbert. “It kind of makes perfect sense.”
Both are hoping for a chance to be performing on stage where they can combine their edgy country-rock styles in the near future.