2017 iHeartCountry Festival- Show

Brantley Gilbert performs at the iHeartCountry Festival in 2017 in Austin, Texas. Gilbert is set to play at Rent One Park in Marion on Saturday.

Another superstar is coming to Rent One Park.

No, it’s not a big bat to help manager Mike Pinto and the powerful offense of the Southern Illinois Miners.

Instead, it’s a bookend act to connect with a recently announced show giving the Marion stadium a potent one-two country music punch on back-to-back nights next month.

Brantley Gilbert will be in concert at the venue on July 20. He is the voice behind chart-topping singles “Country Must be Country Wide,” “Bottoms Up,” “One Hell of an Amen” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.”

Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday exclusively at eventbrite.com with prices ranging from $20-$100. Opening acts will be announced at a later date.

This will be a Country 4 Country Kickoff Concert, coming one day prior to a show featuring Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson and others, being held at Rent One on July 21. Tickets are currently on sale for that show on eventbrite.com.

“This is a two-day event. You will need a separate ticket for each day,” says Chris Parton, owner of Midwest Music Supply and a sponsor of the festivities.

Coordinating the logistics for the massive two-day event is challenging, Parton says.

“My company is handling all the event management details, ticketing, sound, lights, staging and production,” Parton says. “Pepsi MidAmerica has secured marketing partnerships with all the entertainers, which has made it possible for these high-level artists to come to Marion and put on a ‘big city’ production.”

Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, Rent One Park and VisitSI are also major contributors in the partnership planning this unique opportunity for music fans.

“This could possibly be the largest two-day event our area has ever seen,” Parton says. “We are so excited to bring these concerts and economic impact to the area.”

Further enhancing the experience, Parton says a tailgate party will start at 11 a.m. on July 20 and July 21 on the Rent One parking lot, featuring concerts by Nashville artists.

Names of supporting acts for Gilbert and those playing in the parking lot will be released as contracts are finalized, increasing anticipation for the marathon jam.

Just in time for Father’s Day, last week Gilbert released single “Man that Hung the Moon,” a tender ballad the brawny singer used to deliver a personal, inspirational message to his 1-year-old son, Barrett.

In 2015, Gilbert married Georgia school teacher Amber Cochran, the motivation behind songs “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” and “More Than Miles.” The couple is expecting a second child in September.

In December, Gilbert released duet “What Happen in a Small Town” with Lindsay Eli. It is the first single released from his fifth studio album, “Fire and Brimstone,” which will be released later this year.

The 34-year-old Gilbert’s songwriting shook Nashville to the core when he migrated to Music City from Georgia more than a decade ago. His debut album “Modern Day Prodigal Son” contained break-out single “My Kinda Party,” and follow-up LP “Halfway to Heaven” contained the equally successful “Dirt Road Anthem.”

Both projects were recorded for Average Joes Entertainment and engineered by Sparta native Noah Gordon, who has since won major awards for his work with Jamie Johnson and a gospel record by Hillary Scott, lead vocalist for Lady Antebellum.

The two songs vaulted Gilbert from lanky unknown songwriter to working with the best tune craftsmen in the industry. The songs also propelled him to a higher tax bracket as they were monster mainstream country hits for Jason Aldean.

Gilbert and Colt Ford are the masterminds that created a new country music genre that mixes a progressive “outlaw” vibe, infectious beat and frequent infused rap-style recitation.

He used concert tours of major college towns in the South to build a massive fan base for the sound. In 2010, he branched out to the Copper Dragon in Carbondale to give Southern Illinois University students and serious local music fans a chance to see one of the last shows before his career exploded, soaring to new heights virtually overnight.

In 2011, he moved from Average Joes and signed a major record deal with Valory Music, a division of Big Machine Records. The company added a few new tracks and re-released his “Halfway to Heaven” album. It immediately shot to the top of the Billboard Albums Chart.

Gilbert quickly became one of the hottest commodities in the industry, touring with Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.

His early records sales were phenomenal. His first 12 singles included six songs that were certified platinum and another four that went gold. The biggest seller was 2013 quadruple platinum “Bottoms Up.”

Parton says updates on the event will be posted on social media, like Pepsi618 on Facebook.

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Vince Hoffard can be reached at vincehoffard@gmail.com or 618-658-9095.


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