One year after the top selling debut of his album Just As I Am, Valory Music’s Brantley Gilbert continues the momentum with this week’s release of Just As I Am Platinum Edition. The latest version of his Gold-certified third studio album was released Monday, May 18, and features five new tracks, in addition to a remix of the chart-topping “Bottoms Up” featuring rapper T.I., for a total of 19 songs. Last year, the Georgia native notched the third-highest debut and landed in the Top 5 best selling country albums of the year. Now, with his newest release, Brantley continues to share his life experiences and lessons through his music.
His vision for the album is one of authenticity, bringing everything back full circle. Brantley tells MusicRow, “All of my songs are chapters of my life. They tell a story. The five new songs tie up loose ends on the record.” Brantley who writes all of his songs on the album, admits, “We wait longer than a lot of folks between records to make sure I tell the story right. Since I write everything I cut, we want to make sure it’s perfect. There was a lot of the good, the bad, and the ugly to talk about on this record. The way it has worked out is amazing and I’m excited it’s finally here.”
I sat in front of the cross and talked to God.
The album ends with the deeply personal and powerful ballad, “Just As I Am.” He shares the story that inspired this solo-written tune: “This song is about a huge battle in my life,” confesses Brantley. “It’s a true story. There’s a little chapel in my hometown that sits off the road with a large concrete cross. There had been a lot of things going on; so one night when I was riding by the chapel on my motorcycle, I pulled over. I sat there in front of the cross and talked to God. That’s when I started to try to get my stuff together, by getting some things that needed to go, out of my life. It’s one of those songs that tells my exact story. It’s as real as it gets for me.” This is the same cross that is featured on the cover of his second album, Halfway to Heaven. He adds, “It’s a bit of foreshadowing because that situation is exactly what this song is about.”
Military has always been a passion for me.
In celebration of his new release, Brantley is joining forces with Harley-Davidson and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) for a two-day motorcycle ride to introduce WWP’s “Rolling Odyssey” program, a therapeutic ride for combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and readjustment challenges. Brantley will make four stops in 48 hours as they trek from Houston to Baton Rouge with an acoustic performance and autograph signing at each stop. He will end the ride with a performance at the Bayou Country Superfest as part of Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival Tour.
When asked about his connection to the men and women who serve our country, Brantley shares, “My support for the military has always been a passionate part of me. My mom’s side of the family is a military family and I had heard my whole life that freedom ain’t free.” But when Brantley once made a trip to Arlington National Cemetery, it left an unshakable impression on the country artist. “I went to Arlington and saw the ocean of gravestones of people who laid down their lives for our freedom. I love my God. I love my country. I love my guns. I love my family. I love my job. Those ladies and gentlemen protect that and give me the freedom to do these things.” And Brantley’s not one to forget what they have done, adding, “I’m going to show them every bit of love and support I can in return.”