Posted by: Amy | May 6, 2010

Country Concert Chronicles’ Interview with Brantley Gilbert

I recently had a chance to talk with Average Joes Entertainment recording artist, Brantley Gilbert. He’s a soft-spoken Georgia boy whose recently-released second album Halfway to Heaven appeared at number one on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The album cuts range from rockin’, like the debut single “Kick It in the Sticks,” to the softer acoustic-driven tracks such as “My Kinda Crazy” and “Saving Amy.” The album shows Gilbert’s full artistic range and his songwriting abilities, as he co-wrote each of the album’s 12 tracks. Halfway to Heaven is the follow-up to his 2009 debut album A Modern Day Prodigal Son.

brantley press1
Photo credit: Lyn Sengupta, TSJ Multimedia

We began our conversation by discussing the devastation in Nashville because of the flooding, particularly the destruction of the Grand Ole Opry House. Brantley expressed his regret at seeing such a historic place for country music under water. He mentioned that he had scheduled a trip to Nashville this week for various meetings and songwriting appointments, but it had to be canceled because of the floods. This led us to discuss how he usually schedules writing sessions and the very successful writing partners with whom he’s been able to write. In addition to making trips to Nashville to write, he writes with friends at the property that he affectionately calls “The Compound.” There’s a house on the property that’s been converted into five apartments and is home to several guys from Brantley’s band and crew. He lives in the pool house on the same property. Being in such close proximity to some of his co-writers has inspired several spontaneous writing sessions. We specifically spoke about his writing with fellow Georgia natives Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip. They have written some of the biggest hits currently on country radio and their most recent number one was Joe Nichols’ “Gimme That Girl.”

“I go up to Nashville to write with them and I’m telling you, I try to get them in, at least one of them, every time we go up there to write because it brings a little taste of home. Them boys, you can’t meet better songwriters and better individuals than those people. They were probably one of the first co-writes to have that actually made me feel at home. I feel like them boys care about what we’re doing and care about me. They take care of me. I don’t consider them friends, I consider them brothers. They’ve done a good bit for me.” When I asked him which of the songs that he’s written is his favorite, he replied, “Uh, that’s a hard question to answer! When I write it’s always inspired by something that’s going on with my life. You know a lot of the sad ones bring back some bad memories, but I like singing them sometimes because it’s kind of an expression. It’s kind of a way of venting and getting that frustration out. I feel like songwriters paint pictures for the blind. You know, if it doesn’t invoke a feeling, I think that it might be kind of a waste of time. You can tell when somebody wrote something from the heart and those are the ones that I’m very, very passionate about.” Listening to his albums, it’s evident that he has an emotional connection with every song that he’s recorded.

In discussing concerts and the live show experience, I learned that Brantley’s first concert was Third Day and Switchfoot at the Roxy in Atlanta. He went to the show with his church youth group. A year later he had a chance to open for Third Day and a host of other Christian artists at a praise and worship festival in Tennessee. Soon after performing praise and worship music, Brantley began playing songs that he had written. His crowds today are a little rowdier than the praise and worship crowd, but there’s still a passion for sharing his music and having it connect with fans. I asked him to describe the feeling of having the crowd sing one of his songs back to him. “I don’t think that there is an explanation for that feeling. I think it’s bliss because, you know, somebody knows the words to something. They’ve listened to it a few times. That to me, especially, you know, it’s usually during the acoustic set and I’ll just drop the guitar and my voice, also and just listen to them sing. When they’re singing it, you know, you can tell that they’re passionate about it, too. So that tells me that it relates to them. And if songs like that relate to them, they also affected them or either helped them through something or at least helps them reminisce about something. So that means that my song meant something to somebody, you know. And that’s why I’m still here. That’s what keeps me breathing.”

Before closing the interview, I asked him if there were anything else that he wanted our readers to know. “Just tell them that I love them and I can’t wait to see them. Come see me when I’m close!” He’s clearly very humbled by his success and appreciative of the fans’ support of his music. He thanked me profusely several times during the interview when I complimented him on his success. He seems very genuine and almost shocked at the amount of attention he’s receiving and the success that he’s achieved to this point.

I’ll be seeing Brantley for the first time this Friday night, May 7, at the Whiskey River in Macon, GA and you can count on Country Concert Chronicles to have the full review and lots of pictures! Tickets to the show are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. You can also check his website for all of his tour dates.

www.brantleygilbert.com

www.myspace.com/brantleygilbertmusic

For tickets to Friday night’s show, go to the Whiskey River’s website.


Responses

  1. I love Brantley Gilbert. I have been listening to hm and following his success for a few years now. I’ve seen him live in Jacksonvile, FL at Freebird July of 2009 for the first time and man he just moves you, emotionally and physically:) I seen hm again at the same venue this year in February and plan on attending his July 3rd concert in Hortense, GA at East Coast Off Road Park AND his July 17th concert at Freebird, again!!!! I just can’t get enough. I have both of his CDs and have gained him a few fans because they have to listen when they ride with me, ha. I am so excited that he is coming back to SE GA and NE FL. I’ll be waiting with open ears and open arms!!
    MEL

  2. I’m an old friends of Brantleys and I’m so happy to see him succeed. Finally everyone is getting to see the talent in him that we have all seen from the beginning. Good luck to you and the band Brantley. I’ll see you soon. Jess, Will, and Grason

  3. One word: AWESOME! 😉

    Okay, a few more words .. Most interesting interview I’ve read in a while! “I feel like songwriters paint pictures for the blind.” Love that! ♥

    All of a sudden, I have a strong desire to go listen to “Fall Into Me” at a very loud volume. 🙂

  4. PS. Thank you, Amy, for this interview! And thanks to BG too! No doubt, an artist who is truly humbled by his success and appreciative of his fans.


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