Country Countdown: Brantley Gilbert's 'Know' Hits No. 1
Country Countdown: Brantley Gilbert's 'Know' Hits No. 1

Newly engaged couple has written together ... Singer also talks ACM nods, Tim McGraw tour and his cameo on "Nashville"

Country stars Brantley Gilbert and Jana Kramer got engaged over the weekend in Nashville. The "Country Must Be Country Wide" singer tells Billboard that although there likely won't be a duet on his in-the-works followup to 2010's "Halfway to Heaven," the couple will make beautiful music together -- eventually.

"We have written a couple of songs together, and they are really good, so that may be something we do in the future. But, not right now," he stresses, saying that the two are trying to keep their careers separate. "She's doing her thing and I'm doing mine couldn't be more proud of her. We're both staying busy," he says.

The couple, who have been dating for about a year, are both nominated in their respective New (Male/Female) Vocalist of the Year categories at this year's ACM Awards. The Valory Music Group recording artist calls it an "honor to be nominated" again -- "We were up for it last year, and hopefully, we can pull it home this year."

Fans are able to vote in the New Artist categories starting this week, and Gilbert says the artists' respective fan bases take it seriously. "That's definitely true, for sure. BG Nation is pretty competitive, so we'll see what happens."

Something else that Gilbert is excited about is his appearance on tonight's episode of the ABC series "Nashville." He shares the screen time with another of the genre's rising talents. "It's me and Chris Young, and we got to play ourselves. We had an easy job. It was a pretty cool experience, a lot of 'hurry up and wait.'  I was told that what to expect, so I wasn't surprised. We both brought our buses and hung out all day, so it was all good."

Is acting something he might want to explore in the future? "That's been a popular question lately," he laughs. "My main focus is music -- has been and will be. So, the acting thing -- if a part strikes me, might be fun. I'd entertain the thought of it, it might be fun, but the focus is going to be on music."

He is focusing on that task, working on his upcoming album. "There's definitely a rockin' edge," he tells us, "but there's still a lot of country...  I'm a country guy, and there's a sensitive side on there too. I think it's going to be a good mix. I'm just as proud of this one as the one before."

Tour-wise, Gilbert is gearing up for the second leg of the "Hell on Wheels" tour with Kip Moore and Brian Davis, and will be part of the Tim McGraw "Two Lanes of Freedom" tour beginning May 2 in Birmingham.

"I've got an opportunity to get to know him a little bit," he says of McGraw. "We've had lunch, and have become texting buddies. He's a straight-up cool guy, and really down to earth."