Moving to Nashville, he signed with Warner Chappell Publishing (his songs have been recorded by the likes of Jason Aldean
and Colt Ford
) and began working toward completing an album. Modern Day Prodigal Son finally appeared in 2009 from Average Joe's
, which also released the follow-up, Halfway to Heaven, in 2010. Gilbert signed with Big Machine's Valory Music imprint in 2011 and the label reissued Halfway to Heaven. With Valory
's support, the album took off: "Country Must Be Country Wide" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" both topped the U.S. country chart on their way to being certified platinum. Two other singles were pulled from the record in 2012 -- "Kick It in the Sticks" and "More Than Miles," both peaking in the country Top 20 -- and then in 2013, Gilbert began working on a new studio project with producer Dann Huff.
"Bottoms Up," the first single issued from these sessions, turned into Gilbert's biggest hit to date in early 2014, reaching number one on the charts on its way to selling over a million copies. Its success whetted the appetite for Just as I Am, which saw release in May 2014. Just as I Am went to number one on the Billboard country chart and number two on the Top 200, eventually getting certified platinum thanks to the hit singles "Small Town Throwdown," "One Hell of an Amen," and "Stone Cold Sober." In the summer of 2016 he released "The Weekend," the first taste from his third major-label album, The Devil Don't Sleep. After "The Weekend" made it into the Billboard country Top 20, The Devil Don't Sleep followed in January of 2017. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi