Latin Music Week

Brantley Gilbert's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Lyn Sengupta
Brantley Gilbert

There’s a lot more to the substance and music of Brantley Gilbert than the swagger and attitude that is part of his look, complete with chains and tattoos. But, a deep listen into his music reveals a small-town guy from Jefferson, Georgia who has a heart of gold -- and will only turn into the tough guy when he’s pushed to the limits.

Musically, there’s a lot of different styles and sounds to the music of Gilbert. There are plenty of songs that about letting loose on a weekend night in a small town that are designed for turning up loud, but there are just as many that reveal a man who is in search of a better life for those that he cares about. In addition, there are also a few Brantley Gilbert songs about his faith -- including one you probably haven’t heard yet but need to.

See more:  Billy Ray Cyrus | Brett Young | Chris JansonChris Lane | Chris Young | Colt Ford | Dierks Bentley | Easton Corbin | Florida Georgia Line | Gordon Lightfoot | Hank Williams | Jake Owen | Jerry Lee Lewis | John Denver | Jon Pardi | Kacey Musgraves | Kane Brown | k.d. lang | Keith Whitley | Kelsea Ballerini | Kris Kristofferson | Lee Ann WomackLoCash | Loretta LynnLuke Bryan | Maren Morris | Martina McBride | Merle Haggard | Oak Ridge Boys | Patsy Cline | Scotty McCreery | Tanya Tucker | Tyler FarrWillie Nelson | Zac Brown Band

10. Brantley Gilbert -- "If You Want A Bad Boy" 

Gilbert kicked off his 2014 million-selling Just As I Am disc with this rollicking number that featured quite a bit of swagger. Though this song, which the singer co-wrote with Troy Verges, wasn’t released as a single, it’s one that should have been. It became an instant crowd favorite at the singer’s live shows and remains one of the more fun songs in his catalog.

9. Brantley Gilbert - "Country Must Be Country Wide" 

After having his album Halfway To Heaven picked up by Scott Borchetta and the team at Valory, this single climbed all the way to the pinnacle of the charts in December of 2011, making the singer’s Christmas season that year very memorable. Gilbert penned the song with Colt Ford and Mike Dekle, and the video for the song had to be more than a little notable for the singer, as well -- being filmed at the Tennessee State Prison.

8. Brantley Gilbert - "Bottoms Up" 

The Brantley Gilbert song that represents his best showing on the Hot 100 (No. 20) isn’t necessarily that deep of a lyric, but his fans gravitated toward the first single from Just As I Am as quickly as they have to anything the singer had recorded to that point before. Making the video for this song was no doubt fun for the singer, who got to dress up in vintage clothing from the 1930s while making a moonshine run.

7. Brantley Gilbert ft. Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett - "Small Town Throwdown" 

Lyrically, this song about letting loose on a Friday or Saturday night isn’t really that special. We’ll be the first to admit that. But, the personality that shines through on this song featuring Gilbert along with Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore was simply fun to listen to -- and the last time we checked, Baskin-Robbins sells more vanilla than any other flavor on their menu. The song didn’t change the world, but if you forget your problems for three-and-a-half minutes, there nothing wrong with that, either.

6. Brantley Gilbert - "Kick It In The Sticks" 

This is one of those cases where the charts don’t sum up the impact of this Brantley Gilbert song. The singer self-released this song in 2010, and then Valory re-released it to radio in 2012. The musically aggressive number just barely dented the Top 30 on the country charts, but those who heard it liked it, as the song was certified platinum.

5. Brantley Gilbert - "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" 

Gilbert took more of a pensive approach to this song, which became his second-straight chart-topper from 2011. Fans seemed to truly respond to the change in musical direction after the raucous nature of his most-early work.

4. Brantley Gilbert - "The Ones That Like Me" 

The current single from Gilbert is a testament to being who you are in both the good times and bad times, being there for your circle in sunshine or rain, and not worrying about your detractors. The song serves as Gilbert’s true-to-life mantra, and this one will hopefully continue to make an impact with fans.

3. Brantley Gilbert - "One Hell of An Amen" 

Gilbert teamed with Brian Davis and Dekle to pen this moving ballad which was inspired by the loss of a friend to cancer, as well as the loss of another person he had become acquainted with who was serving the United States overseas.  Always one to pay tribute to and honor veterans, Gilbert matched his actions to his words during the launch of Just As I Am in 2014, helping to raise awareness of the organization Folds of Honor, which assists the families of fallen veterans – with a motorcycle ride from Athens, Georgia all the way to Washington, DC.

2. Brantley Gilbert - "More Than Miles" 

Of all the Brantley Gilbert songs that have climbed the charts to date, perhaps his strongest showcase as a vocalist came on this 2012 single from Halfway To Heaven, where the singer is faced with a decision about following his dreams or staying with the one that makes his dreams come true. It’s a decision that he goes back and forth on throughout the song, with the final decision not coming to the climax, making for a powerful conclusion. Perhaps his finest moment from a singles standpoint so far.

1. Brantley Gilbert - "Three Feet Of Water" 

Fans who are familiar with Gilbert’s recorded history know that his spiritual side is as deep as any other part of the Georgia native. That element has shone through on several occasions in his career thus far, but never more vividly than this song about surrendering all from the past and deciding to become a Christian. In a world that seemingly looks to be offended very quickly these days, this might not make a lot of sense to release as a possible single. But, Borchetta and company have a reputation for rolling the dice and taking some chances over the years. It would be good to see them do that here. Radio might not pick up on it, but we think this song could make a pretty deep impact across many musical boards and genres. Hits often happen from where you don’t expect them, and the impact of this song -- recorded by a man known for his chains and tattoos -- could be massive.