Brantley Gilbert

Brantley Gilbert by Justin Nolan Key

Justin Nolan Key

Talks new album: "It definitely has the rock aspect, but there is also a softer side and a spiritual side as well. I am really proud of this next album"

One could argue the inclusion of Brantley Gilbert on the CRS New Faces Show this Friday night. After all, the Georgia native has been entertaining fans for over a decade, releasing his debut disc in 2009. But, in the past year, the Valory Music Co. recording artist has seen his stock rise in the industry to a point that has made him one of the favorites in the format -- and not just among the fans. Gilbert was selected to appear on the coveted show thanks to the votes of his supporters at country radio. Nobody on his team is more mindful of this than the singer himself.

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"The New Faces show is interesting because a lot of folks have been following us since the beginning about twelve years ago," Gilbert told Billboard. "In the corporate and radio side of the industry, we are still new. It is definitely an honor to be recognized at all for something like this. We are super excited."

Of course, the singer is grateful for the role that radio has played in his career, lifting his singles "Country Must Be Country Wide" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" to the top of the singles chart.

"Radio means a whole helluva lot to me," Gilbert stressed. "I can tell you that in the beginning of the career, I didn't even want a manager I was doing everything myself and I was scared to involve anyone else because I liked what we had going on and I didn't want anyone trying to change that. But, I found a management company that really knows and believes in me along with Mr. Scott Borchetta and everyone at Valory Music Co."

Just as Gilbert has plotted his career path his own way, his initial experience of hearing himself on the airwaves was somewhat against the grain, as he recalls being at a southern landmark. "The first time I heard my song on the radio I was in front of The Varsity in Athens, Georgia. My song 'What's Left of a Small Town' from my first album came on, which was not even supposed to be playing. My best friend Shana Vaughan worked in radio at WNGC and she snuck it in and would play it every once and a while. It was an awesome feeling and I really didn't know what to think. The cell phone calls and texts started coming through and we just jammed to the radio. It was definitely a cool moment."

Gilbert -- who will be sharing the New Faces stage with fiancee Jana Kramer, is looking forward for radio and fans alike to hear his upcoming project. "It definitely has the rock aspect, but there is also a softer side and a spiritual side as well. I am really proud of this next album. I don't ever want to compare any of my records  because they are all different chapters of my life, but I think this one is definitely going to tell my story well."