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Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell Combine Forces For ‘What Happens in a Small Town’

Brantley Gilbert pulled from his real life experiences to write his Lindsay Ell-collaboration, "What Happens In A Small Town."

Written by Lauren Laffer
Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell Combine Forces For ‘What Happens in a Small Town’
Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell; Photo Credit: Joseph Llanes

Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell’s captivating new collaboration “What Happens In A Small Town” dropped early Friday morning (12/14). The song features the two country rockers trading off vocals and coming together for a powerful chorus that sings of a relationship that left remnants of its memory all over their small town.

“What happens in a small town/ Stays in a small town/ Every back road we’ve ever gone down/ Friday night bleachers, Sunday pews/ Ain’t a county line mile without a memory of you,” the two sing back and forth as the track plays.

“This song builds and burns,” Gilbert said in a press release of the song he co-wrote with Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne and Rhett Akins and produced with Dann Huff. “It really has that want for someone you can’t have and having to live in all the places they are. I wanted to have someone on the record who could match those feelings, to really push the song. It’s not just any female singer who makes sense, and we knew that. But Lindsay is a whole other kind of artist, and she understands that power.”

“Lindsay plays with the same emotion that she sings with,” Gilbert continued. “Her voice is as intense on that guitar as it is when it comes out of her mouth. It’s awesome, and it’s something Dann and I both knew we wanted.”

“It was great that they wanted me to play,” Ell added. “To be part of a song like this is great, but to be asked to play on someone’s song who I respect so much takes it up another level. Obviously playing in front of Dann Huff is something else, but he knew how to really push me – and get a vocal that contains everything situations like this one are made of.”

Like many of his previous songs, Gilbert pulled from his real-life experience. “What Happens In A Small Town” touches loosely on his relationship ending with his wife Amber, who he was ultimately able to fix things with and marry.

“Songs that come from your life just have another kind of power,” said the Georgia native. “People can hear the difference, and they know. For this song, obviously I’m not the only guy – or girl – who’s been there, but I’m lucky/blessed enough to have been able to put it back together.”

Listen to Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell on “What Happens In A Small Town” above.