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Brantley Gilbert on Keith Urban: ‘If It Weren’t for Him … I’d Probably Be Dead’

Keith Urban Brantley Gilbert rehab
Frederick Breedon IV, Getty Images

Leading up to the release of his new album, The Devil Don’t Sleep, Brantley Gilbert has been open about his past addictions, and how he keeps things in line these days. In a new interview, the country star says he’s got a fellow artist to thank for helping him turn his life around.

To the Tennessean, Gilbert recalls meeting Keith Urban at the Nashville-area rehab facility Cumberland Heights in 2011. Gilbert had entered the center after being hospitalized for pancreatitis was itching to leave the facility after just a few days; Urban, also a former addict, spent time at Cumberland Heights in 1998, and was in rehab in California from October of 2006 until early in 2007.

“I told him, I don’t think I can do my job,” Gilbert recalls of his meeting with Urban. “I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being [messed] up. Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level.”

Fortunately, Urban’s words of wisdom and encouragement to Gilbert got through to him: “My whole world flipped,” Gilbert says, and although he was scared, at first, while performing while sober, he grew more confident with time.

“As a man, I feel like I’m leaps and bounds ahead of where I was. I’m concerned about things that matter,” Gilbert confesses. Of his first meeting and continued friendship with Urban, the singer adds, “If it weren’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be sober or be in this business anymore. I’d probably be dead.”

The Devil Don’t Sleep — the title of which is a phrase that, Gilbert explains, “is all about knowing that … there’s always temptation” — is set for release on Friday (Jan. 28).

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