Country star Brantley Gilbert traveled nearly 3,000 miles last week to launch his new studio album JUST AS I AM (The Valory Music Co.). Officially dubbed “Athens To Arlington," Brantley and some of his closest friends embarked on a six-day motorcycle ride to simultaneously honor local armed forces heroes and entertain thousands of fans. The motorcade of nearly 20 departed Athens, GA, on May 21, making stops in 11 cities along the way. The chart-topper performed some of his first new music in four years, including the Platinum-certified #1 hit “Bottoms Up,” and signed autographs for loyal fans. Watch highlights here.
The trek included stops at tour partners Harley-Davidson, Best Buy and Walmart's various retail locations. Additionally, Brantley honored scholarship recipients of families of wounded or lost military personnel with help from national charity Folds of Honor.
“From riding motorcycles with my 'brothers' to performing for my fans to honoring those who gave us our freedom ... this journey has been unreal,” said Brantley. “The BG Nation showed up for each and every event and never disappointed. Thank you to Harley-Davidson and Folds of Honor for joining me on this incredible week!”
On May 25, the Georgia native also competed against NASCAR driver Kurt Bush to complete the “double” — an attempt known professionally in motorsports to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coke 600, which occur on the same day. While Brantley wasn’t behind the wheel, he attended both events where his new album cover spanned the hoods of Indycar driver Sage Karam and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurry.
Reaching a pinnacle moment on Memorial Day (May 26), Brantley received a tour of Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington, DC, and was granted the honor of presenting a wreath at the coveted Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with Folds of Honor scholarship recipient Sarah White.
"ATHENS TO ARLINGTON" DAY-BY-DAY Monday, May 19: JUST AS I AM is released and immediately becomes the #1 Country album on iTunes and remains in that position.
Tuesday, May 20: Brantley performs a sold-out show for his hometown crowd at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA.
Wednesday, May 21: Motorcade departs the Harley-Davidson in Athens, GA, to kick off the “Athens To Arlington” ride. Brantley and crew make stops at an Atlanta area Best Buy store and an Augusta Harley-Davidson store.
Thursday, May 22: Brantley performs and signs autographs at a Walmart store in Columbia, SC, and later at a Best Buy store in Greenville, SC.
Friday, May 23: SiriusXM’s “The Highway” hosts Storme Warren and Brittney Goudie join Brantley at Harold’s Diner in Gaffney, SC. Brantley later performs and signs autographs at a Best Buy store in Charlotte, NC.
Saturday, May 24: Brantley participates in a press conference for the NASCAR Nationwide race in Charlotte, NC, with driver Kyle Larson whose car donned the JUST AS I AM album cover. Larson wins the race as Brantley flies to Forest City, IA, for a full set at the Tree Town Music Festival.
Sunday, May 25: Brantley attends the Indy 500 earlier in the day before traveling to Charlotte Motor Speedway to perform a concert before the Coke 600 that evening.
Monday, May 26: Brantley and the motorcade arrive in Arlington, VA, to honor the military. Thanks to the Armed Forces Foundation, Brantley goes on a special private tour, paying tribute to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.