By Josephine Lee–
Georgia native Brantley Gilbert has built his career in much of the same fashion as mainstream country artists – from the ground up, playing at local venues waiting to be discovered. Two songs written for fellow country superstar Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kinda Party,” have both become major hits and proves Gilbert’s talent for songwriting. Now, two albums and two record company labels later, Gilbert is starting to take the country world by storm.
“Halfway to Heaven: Deluxe Edition,” a remaster of his sophomore album, captures the sound Gilbert wanted to include in the original. After a tumultuous year that included record label changes and near-death accidents, Gilbert seals his status as country music’s next superstar with three new songs on the re-released album. His three new songs have the rowdiness of a crazy concert crowd while still having the honest lyrics and classic country three-part harmonies. The first of his three new songs, “Miles to Go,” features a strong hook: “there’s more than miles in my rearview mirror” and sounds radio-ready but still unique enough to distinguish Gilbert from other country artists. “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” is the most insightful of the three new songs that Gilbert wrote. Although the song doesn’t compare to the content of the title track, “Halfway to Heaven,” the track reflects on a love gone wrong that is unlike any of the other cliché broken heart ballads. Gilbert sings the song so powerfully that listening to it is almost like feeling the sadness of a broken heart again. The last song, “Hell on an Angel” features a more “rockabilly” country sound, reflective of the song’s lyrics.
The southern rock infusion with country makes his music appeal to at the masses and his relatable lyrics keep his fans loyal to his music. In every song, you’ve either been there, are there or wish you were there. His voice is soulful but scratchy, and he always stays sings about music close to his roots.
“Halfway to Heaven: Deluxe Edition” also features the music video for his lead single, “Country must be Country Wide” and a special interview with Gilbert.
Photos courtesy Average Joe’s Entertainment Valory