Country/rock singer Brantley Gilbert has released Just As I Am, which would mark his third album release since his 2009 debut. The album’s leading single Bottoms Up enjoyed success at the top of the US Country charts, as well as making the top 20 in the Canadian Country charts; so far so good, and we were lucky enough to have been able to check out the deluxe edition of Just As I Am that includes three bonus tracks.
A sweet riff and humongous drums, plus that gritty country boy voice, is what introduces the album with the head nodding If You Want A Bad Boy; the track is diverse enough to appeal to the commercial masses, it’s catchy and the chorus becomes etched in your brain. The reminiscent 17 Again is packed with everything rock, it has a strong guitar riff and a great beat, you could say it is like a country/rock Nickelback track. Number one single Bottoms Up has more of a darker sound to it, and it is obvious why this track charted so well in the US; it is catchy, radio friendly, involves alcohol and sounds so darn buyable. Brantley’s country roots shines in This Was Us, featuring the drink swinging country serenading vibe with the singer’s best slight slur of the lyrics, and it is also another nostalgic track; he also manages to combine country and rock to create what could be described as a power ballad and is driven by Brantley’s powerful voice. It wasn’t long before Brantley rocked out again with My Baby’s Guns N’ Roses, written about a love interest riddled with song titles from his big band name drop, it is a little bit cheesy but has value. Once you think the album tones it down a little with the quieter introduction to Lights Of My Hometown, the track comes alive as the beat and the guitar kick in to take it to a higher altitude.
One Hell Of An Amen recalls the funeral service and final farewells of a relative in true country/rock style, you feel sad and happy for the departed at the same time; that’s one hell of a tribute. The album’s second single Small Town Throwdown features Justin Moore & Thomas Rhett, although it didn’t chart as well as its predecessor, it follows the same radio friendly formula, the vibe of the track is energetic and it is a great collaboration between the three country stars. Let It Ride recalls being caught in the moment of love and is one of the lighter feeling tracks on the album, whilst My Faith In You is also more of a down key track to begin with until it explodes into a huge chorus. It’s all riff in the country injected GRITS, featuring the more gruff quality to Brantley’s voice. Read Me My Rights is completely different in its own right compared to the rest of the album, it is instrumentally more heavier in contrast to previous tracks and Brantley pulls off the heavy rock vocal with such ease which helps make this track a deluxe highlight. The deluxe edition finishes off on the lightest note yet with Grown Ass Man, a statement in the form of a ballad where Brantley makes it clear that he knows who he is and is set in the ways he was brought up with.
Brantley Gilbert has delivered something special with Just As I Am; it is one hundred percent a personal record, the lyrics are deep and the melodies in each track are successful in assisting the delivery of the music from beginning to end. It is evident that Brantley has etched a chunk of his soul into this album, it is definitely a career contribution he should be proud of. It isn’t any wonder why Just As I Am has fared so well on the US Country, US Billboard and Canadian Country charts; it is clear we are not the only ones to have loved this album so far. Fans of Brantley will not be disappointed, and new fans will be made!