Brantley Gilbert has played a lot of big shows throughout his career, but he says that his favorite performances have been in a small venue close to his childhood home in Georgia.

"My goal in the music business was to sell out the Georgia Theatre," he tells Country 1065 WYRK in Buffalo, N.Y. "It was 15 minutes from my front door, and it held, like, 900 people [when I was growing up], and I was like, 'Man, if I ever do that, then I have made it as far as I'm concerned; that's making it in the music business.'

"I did it when I was 20, so ever since then, everything really has been a bonus, and going back there's always been pretty surreal," Gilbert adds. "We make a point to go back every time we release an album and do one of our CD release parties there, and something interesting always happens just like it used to back in the good old days. That's always a fun place."

Gilbert is set to join Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean during their 10 joint stadium shows this year. He says that performing live feels natural to him after his days on the football field.

"From night to night, for me, it's like home. I'm up there, and I'm free, and nobody's bugging me ... It's just up there doing my thing and playing songs and interacting with the audience," he says. "It's a lot of adrenaline for me, and that's the way I played football. This is the closest feeling, before you walk out on stage, it was the closest feeling I could find to walking out on the field on Friday night."

In addition to the joint Aldean / Chesney concerts, Gilbert will join Chesney for five more shows this summer. He is also set to play a series of dates in Europe. See a list of upcoming shows at

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