Greg Bates has 100 shows over the next six months as he headlines his own club, fair, and festival dates, but he'll bring along the lessons he learned from opening for Brantley Gilbert.

"He runs such a great, great tour," Greg tells The Boot. "He's so good to all of his guys and all of his openers. It was a lot of fun for me. It was also good for me to see how he treats his fans."

As he hits the road -- including a stop this Friday (May 3) to play the Fest-de-Ville Derby Eve in Louisville, Ky., -- Greg has three essentials that he can't leave home without: "Coffee, water, and my baseball hat," he says. "I wore a Tennessee Titans hat for a long time and then I made the switch to just a standard blue hat. I don't want to offend anybody, [especially] Colts fans. Indianapolis is really good to me, so I don't want to make them mad."

With two hit singles, "Did It for the Girl," and "Fill In The Blank," behind him, Greg has learned to turn to social media to take his fans' pulse. "I think the quickest way to know if anything's a hit is Twitter," he says. He especially noticed a reaction when his music was played on the TV series "Nashville." "People started catching on pretty quick and talking about it on there."

It would seem that fans may recognize his songs faster than he does. "The first time I heard 'Did It For the Girl,' I was down in Tampa," he says. "The song came on and had it turned down pretty low and I didn't even know it was my song until the chorus. As a matter of fact, I heard the groove and thought, 'Man, I should really write something like that.' Then I realized I'd already written something like that!"

Watch Greg Bates Perform 'Fill in the Blank'