Sound — 9
This site needs a dose of good country in the reviews section. I'm taking it as a personal challenge. If I was to define Brantley Gilbert's sound, I'd say his music is a mix of traditional country and alternative rock. Songs such as "Kick It In The Sticks" and "Take It Outside" are ass kicking rock numbers. In contrast, tracks like "Halfway To Heaven" and "Saving Amy" are based in modern traditional country. At the end of the day, Gilbert creates his own sound with his unique voice and compositional prowess. Like Eric Church and Josh Thompson, Gilbert writes or co-writes every song on this album. It creates an honest and heart-felt vibe. Songs like "Halfway To Heaven" and "Saving Amy" come across as truly emotional numbers, and I believe that's because Brantley wrote or co-wrote each song. That's tough to find in country music.
Lyrics — 8
Gilbert has a tendency to get cheesy at times with his lyrics, but his songs are chock full of wonderful lines. As a singer, he's more talented than he initially appears to be. When one listens closely, they realize that he has more vocal ability than a first impression would imply. His lyrics always match the composition. There are no awkward moments on this record, and for a singer-songwriter, that's an accomplishment. Gilbert clearly understands how song structure works.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a very solid country album. It's not the best I've bought in the last year, but it easily moved its way into second place when I listened through the album twice today. The simple fact that Gilbert writes his songs should be appreciated. It is, by this fan. Highlight tracks include "Saving Amy", "Halfway To Heaven", "Kick It In The Sticks", and "My Kind Of Crazy". There are no let downs on this album. No filler tracks. It's full on, a-s-kicking country music. Songwriters need more attention. You won't regret it if you give it to this talented young country artist.