Brantley Gilbert thanks fans with expanded edition of Just As I Am
Just As I Am is the third studio album by Georgia country-rock artist Brantley Gilbert. It was produced by Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts) via Valory Music Group and went to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, while peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Gilbert wrote or co-wrote all 11 tracks on the original gold-certified album that was named Favorite Country Album at the 2014 American Music Awards. Sales of the LP were boosted by platinum single, ‘Bottoms Up,’ which became Gilbert's biggest hit to date, selling more than a million copies and topping Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. Gilbert is thanking his fans by releasing a special Just As I Am - Platinum Edition that includes five new songs.
The title track is one of the new songs on Just As I Am - Platinum Edition. Gilbert admits the raw emotion of the No. 1 Billboard Hot Country Songs ballad had him “teared up” each time he sang it in the booth. “’Just As I Am’ is a song about faith,” the 30-year-old tells Taste of Country, adding it’s also about his battle with alcohol. ‘Stone Cold Sober’ is another of the new tracks. Gilbert co-wrote the song about his love for fiancée, Amber Cochran, with songwriters Brett James and Dan Layus. The platinum version of Just As I Am also includes a remix of Gilbert’s chart-topping hit ‘Bottoms Up’ with Atlanta rapper T.I. adding a verse.
“I’m sure we’ll get a little bit of negative feedback about the rap in country thing, but I think a lot of people will dig it,” says Gilbert, who claims he’s a fan of T.I. and finds similarities in their music. “A lot of rap music can get repetitive … [but] I think [T.I.] goes a little bit deeper than some.” The expanded project features the original version of the song along with the gold-selling ‘Small Town Throwdown’ with Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore. Just As I Am “clearly shows who Brantley Gilbert is now and what he’s come through to get where he is today,” reads a bio posted on BrantleyGilbert.com.
Gilbert says he’s excited about the renewed direction of his music, explaining the more he lives the more stories he has to share with others. “I don’t sing what I don’t write and I don’t write what I don’t live,” declares Gilbert. “I’m not the best singer; I just sing my stories, my life.” As an avid supporter of the military, Gilbert draws inspiration for his music from the strength and courage of servicemen and women. The Just As I Am - Platinum Edition single ‘One Hell Of An Amen’ is the singer’s tribute to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The song is currently No. 19 on the Mediabase Country airplay chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. The longtime motorcycle rider is also taking part in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Rolling Odyssey program, which is a therapeutic ride for combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and readjustment challenges. Earlier this month Gilbert’s ride with a few other Wounded Warrior Project alumni ended in Baton Rouge, La., where he performed at the Bayou Country Superfest. He’s back on the road this summer opening select dates on Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival 2015 Tour, which is teaming up with Jason Aldean’s Burn It Down Tour.
Watch the official music video for ‘One Hell Of An Amen,’ Brantley Gilbert’s tribute to fallen service members and those who face terminal illnesses.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Brantley Keith Gilbert was born January 20, 1985, in Jefferson, Ga., just outside of Athens. He grew up listening to country music, but his proximity to the University of Georgia campus introduced him to Athens bands such as R.E.M. and the B-52's as well as the Southern rock of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
* A near-fatal car accident when he was 19 inspired Gilbert to make music his passion. He started writing songs that blended his country and rock influences, and began playing solo acoustic gigs. He later formed a band to pursue his vision of a creating a “hard-stomping country/rock/soul show.”
* Gilbert moved to Nashville and signed with Warner Chappell Publishing. His songs were recorded by artists including Jason Aldean and Colt Ford, and Gilbert began working on his debut album. Modern Day Prodigal Son was released in 2009 via Atlanta-based Average Joes Entertainment.
* Although it produced no singles, Modern Day Prodigal Son includes the song ‘My Kinda Party.’ which was a Top 5 (No. 2) country hit for Jason Aldean, who also covered the album track Gilbert wrote called ‘The Best of Me.’
* Gilbert’s second album, Halfway to Heaven, was initially released in 2010 on Average Joes. When Gilbert signed with Big Machine's Valory Music in 2011, the label reissued Halfway to Heaven. The revised edition spawned the platinum-selling No. 1 country hits ‘Country Must Be Country Wide’ and ‘You Don't Know Her Like I Do.’
* Two more singles from Halfway to Heaven (‘Kick It In The Sticks’ and ‘More Than Miles’) became Top 20 country hits, and Gilbert teamed up with producer Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts) in 2013 to begin work on his third studio project, Just as I Am.