Gilbert was born in Jefferson, Georgia. He came to Nashville as a songwriter and penned hits like Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party
" and "Dirt Road Anthem
He was briefly engaged to country singer and One Tree Hill actress Jana Kramer in 2013. The following year, he announced another engagement - this time to Amber Cochran, a teacher from his hometown. The couple tied the knot on June 28, 2015 at Gilbert's home in Georgia.
He's been sober since December 2011. "There's some people that can do it like that (drink responsibly), and there's some people that can't. I'm one of the people that can't," he told the Charlotte Observer.
Though he was interested in music from a young age, Gilbert took a different path in college, where studied marriage and relationship counseling at George College and State University. He soon got a job as a special-needs counselor at Friendship Elementary in Gainesville, Georgia.
He nearly died in an accident at age 19 when, after a night of drinking, he flipped his truck, rammed into a tree, and was ejected from the vehicle. The trauma caused him to forget many of his memories, but songwriting helped him to recover part of his lost past.