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Lindsay Ell Says Brantley Gilbert Was ‘Too Scared’ To Call Her for “What Happens In A Small Town” Collab

The country singer also spoke to us about hitting the road with Gilbert and so much more.

Lindsay Ell & Brantley Gilbert perform at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 7 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. (Courtesy of CMA)

Known for his relatable music, Brantley Gilbert is truly the voice of the outsiders, the small towners, the stay up all-nighters and people who believe in the principles our nation was founded on – and that includes the unyielding power of real love.

When the country singer released his song “What Happens In A Small Town” with Lindsay Ell last December, the feedback was incredible as the ballad is about never being able to shake the places and people who shape us, no matter the wreckage.

“I think everybody’s lived this,” Gilbert said in a press statement last year. “There’s that one person, and you can’t quite shake’em. You can break up, but you don’t let go.”

Lindsay Ell performs at the Chevy Riverfront Stage on Thursday, June 6 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. (Courtesy of CMA)

CS Country sat down with Lindsay Ell backstage during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in Nashville earlier this month where she talked about collaborating with the hit-maker for the undeniably good tune. After Gilbert and Big Machine Label Group’s CEO Scott Borchetta noticed that the song should be a duet, Ell’s name came up as a contender. However, Gilbert wasn’t too quick to reach out as he thought she would pass on the opportunity.

“Scott [Borchetta] recommended my name and Brantley said he was too scared to call me because he thought I was gonna say no,” Ell shared with us. “And I was like, ‘Brantley, don’t be so crazy of course I was gonna say yes.'”

Finally gaining the courage to reach out to Lindsay, the female trailblazer instantly said yes and the rest was history.

“When Scott called, it took me thirty seconds to listen to the song and know that it’s such a hit,” she said. “I’m just so thankful and grateful to be apart of it and to watch how fans have fallen in love with the song so fast has been so cool.”

The two went on to perform the song LIVE for over 50,000 people during the second night of CMA Fest, which fans at home can watch during the event’s TV special on Sunday, August 4 on ABC.

Lindsay and Brantley will continue to perform the duet live this summer, as she will be hitting the road with Gilbert for his Not Like Us Tour beginning June 20 in Cincinnati.

“Brantley has become a big brother to me in a lot of ways. He and his wife Amber have become part of my family and they’re just so sweet,” she said. “Brantley is so funny, so I really feel like some pretty funny tour pranks are gonna go on during this tour and I’m really excited to see what he has up his sleeve. I know I can throw the ball back on the tennis court, so it’s gonna be fun.”

You can check out Lindsay on the road with Brantley for his “Not Like Us Tour” at the following cities: 

June 20 | Riverbend Music Center | Cincinnati, Ohio
Aug. 22 | Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion | Bangor, Maine
Aug. 23 | Bank of New Hampshire Amp. | Gilford, New Hampshire
Aug. 24 | Xfinity Theater | Hartford, Connecticut
Aug. 30 | Darien Lake Amphitheater | Darien Center, New York
Aug. 31 | KeyBank Pavilion | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sept. 20 | Hollywood Casino Amphitheater | St. Louis, Missouri
Sept. 21 | Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center | Indianapolis, Indiana
Sept. 27 | Daily’s Place | Jacksonville, Florida
Sept. 28 | MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amp. | Tampa, Florida
Oct. 10 | Ameris Bank Amphitheater | Alpharetta, Georgia
Oct. 11 | PNC Music Pavilion | Charlotte, NC

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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