Lindsay Ell hadn't spent a lot of time around Brantley Gilbert prior to recording their collaboration "What Happens in a Small Town" and touring with him. They come from opposite ends of the continent and bring different styles to the stage, so yeah, she was worried.

Talking to Taste of Country before her set at Hometown Rising in Louisville, Ky., last month, Ell admitted she was scared of Gilbert's fans and intimidated by the singer himself.

"I was like, ‘What if he doesn’t like me? I’m just a guitar nerd’ and blah, blah, blah," she says. But her concerns were without merit.

"He has just been the best. He’s a brother to me.”

What about that audience, though? The front rows at Gilbert's shows hold an intense brand of country-rock fan that come to party with some abandon. Early in the star's career, that wasn't the place to be caught viewing the show through the screen of your cell phone. As it turns out, this is all good news for an artist like Ell, who experienced some success with "Criminal" and songs from her album The Project but is still not quite a known name in every country music circle.

“Brantley’s fans are the coolest," she insists. "They love music, they’re just fans of really good music and they come early. Like, we hit the stage and the venue is full. I’m like, ‘Can we tour with Brantley for the rest of my life, because he’s awesome.'”

The Story of Brantley Gilbert + Lindsay Ell's New Duet:

Gilbert's Not Like Us Tour with Ell wrapped earlier this month, but Ell can still be heard jamming with him on the radio as "What Happens in a Small Town" is a Top 10 hit, available on his Fire & Brimstone album.

Coming up musically for the singer and guitarist is a new album of her own. She shares that she's having fun making a project filled with breakup songs, because that's where she's been in life. Watch the interview above to hear her talk about a song she wrote about ex-boyfriend Bobby Bones that she's a little nervous to release.

Lindsay Ell Makes This List of Country's Best Guitarists: