Brantley Gilbert
Just As I Am- 2014 (Valory)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

With a sound that could be mistaken for Metallica, full tattoo sleeves and biker chains, who knew Brantley Gilbert had a softer side? It turns out that is what shines on his autobiographical third chart topper, “Just As I Am.” Make no mistake, there is no shortage of his signature blunt force rock trauma and traditional country themes like the painfully obvious No. 1 platinum  single “Bottoms Up” and “If You Want A Bad Boy.”  These numbers define the standard in your face, no apologies artist that BG nation has come to know and love from his prior albums. That being said, he digs a little deeper this time around and reflects on the more emotional aspects of life. The end of his relationship with Jana Kramer is the subject of the more subtle, “I’m Gone.” Gilbert has previously stated, “I won’t sing anything anyone else writes.” This time around, he made an exception and employed  co-writers like the Peach Pickers and Thomas Rhett.

He said of the process,  “I was always a guy who wrote by myself, but it’s definitely beneficial. “It helps you bend your mind a little bit, having somebody else in the room and having somebody to bounce ideas off of. ““Let It Ride” was  Gilbert’s only solo credit.

While putting the chapters of his life together, the album will take you from your best first dateto the last dance of a good bye and all the memories in between.


For a guy that rides a Harley  and could replace James Hetfield with no one the wiser, he writes about love and loss  as effectively as kicking it in the sticks.