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article imageReview: Brantley Gilbert soars on new studio album 'Just As I Am' Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 24, 2014 in Music
Country singer Brantley Gilbert released his new studio album "Just As I Am" on May 19, via his label, The Valory Music Company.
Gilbert either wrote or co-wrote all of its 11 tracks. It opens with the upbeat "If You Want A Bad Boy," which showcases his tough side and the rocking "17 Again" has a youthful vibe to it since he talks about what he would do with his girlfriend when he was 17 again (such as sneak down her driveway, climb through her window, climb up in that back seat).
His lead single "Bottoms Up" is the third track on the CD, and it has reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs and the Billboard Hot Country Airplay charts.
While the CD opens with three upbeat tunes, the Gilbert songs that always impress me the most are his soft country ballads such as "That Was Us," and "I'm Gone," the latter of which is one of my favorites of his that would make a good choice for a future radio single (it features a killer electric guitar solo) and it takes a stance against holding on in a relationship. "All those times you didn't listen, I'm the words that came back, then I'm gone," he sings.
The follow-up "My Baby's Guns N' Roses" can easily be the sequel to his "My Kind of Crazy" from his Halfway to Heaven CD. "She's my little rockstar man she knows it, my baby's Guns N' Roses."
He gives his fans a vivid picture of his background in "Lights of My Hometown" and he recruits label-mates Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett on "Small Town Throw Down," which ought to be the next big country duet similar to Eric Church, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean's "The Only Way I Know." This song is already in the Top 30 on the country charts, sitting at No. 28. I would not be surprised if it gets nominated for "Vocal Event of the Year" at the upcoming Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards.
"One Hell of an Amen" is a melancholic ballad that Gilbert nails yet again. Just when you thought that he could not possibly top "Saving Amy" from his previous CD, in emotions and authenticity, he proves his fans wrong again. This truly is "one hell of a song," to paraphrase the track's title.
"Let It Ride" is a song that he penned by himself and it is quite moving and it closes with "My Faith In You," which features the same choir heard in "Lights of My Hometown." His vocals on the closing tune are reminiscent of Jason Wade, the lead singer of the alternative rock band Lifehouse ("You and Me").
The Verdict
I have always loved Brantley Gilbert and his music from the very start, but this project is his best musical effort to date. He has developed as a vocalist and as a songwriter. With Brantley, what you see is what you get. There is nothing fake about him and there are no apologies on this record. He really pours his heart and he shares his personal stories with the world in this collection of songs. It garners 4.5 out of 5 stars.
For more information on country star Brantley Gilbert and his new CD, visit his website.
More about brantley gilbert, Just As I Am, bottoms up, Country
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