Single Review: Brantley Gilbert, “Country Must Be Country Wide”

1. There isn’t a country radio station in any city playing Cash, Hank, Willie, or Waylon in 2011, let alone one in every city nationwide.

2. Country as presented here is a lifestyle, not a revolutionary political movement.  No need for all the drama.

3. This song is about as country as “Wanted Dead or Alive” anyway.

4. Oh, and Neal McCoy already did this.

Grade: C

Listen: Country Must Be Country Wide


  1. Yeah, I wish there was a station around here that would play Cash, Hank, etc…..

    Funny you compared this to “Wanted Dead or Alive”, because that lame Bon Jovi/Sugarland song they’ve been playing on country radio is probably more country than Brantley’s song.

    IMHO, giving this a “C” is generous.

  2. Are you crazy? This is awesome! We never hear country songs these days that name check older artists. And a song that drops those names, but isn’t anything like the music of the artists referenced? That’s got to be, like, seriously original and fresh. I can’t name a single other song that’s ever been like “Country Must Be Country Wide” in the history of country music. It’s that unique.

    Seriously, I haven’t even heard the song and I already hate it. It’s been months since I bothered to check in with current country singles, and it doesn’t sound like I’m missing a thing. Somebody wake me when thoughtful songwriting makes a comeback.

  3. Quite simply, in my very straightforward opinion, any song these days that does this kind of “name checking” without a basic understanding of the music that these guys did, which was actual country music and not loud arena rock dipped in twang and drawl, is a cold-blooded piece of product, and a gutless wonder.

  4. This makes me so sad.

    I’m a huge Brantley fan since we’re from around the same part of Georgia and I’ve been listening to him for quite a while.

    This is literally the worst song (in my opinion) on either of his CDs and of course, it’s released as a single. SO many better options. If anyone’s interested in listening to those better options, I’ll more than gladly point you in the right direction.

    Brantley is not “arena rock dipped in twang” or “aldean lite”. He honestly doesn’t really fit into the whole “country” idea as many define it, and I’m sure he’d have no problem agreeing with that. It’s more southern rock that veers from loud, hard rock to toned down and acoustic. There’s nothing traditional about it, and that’s okay for most.

    I realize my defense of this is probably useless. Most of you will hear this very mediocre song and never both to delve further, and to me, that’s a shame. Cause there’s a lot Brantley can offer. He just needs Scott Borschetta and company to let him put out good music.

    Oh, and because I really am I big BG fan, 3 of my faves:

    Modern Day Prodigal Son:

    Picture on the Dashboard:

    Saving Amy:

    That’s all…for now.

  5. There are many different types of country music today. Hardly anything speaks back to the old days of when country music first started.

    I’m sorry you can’t see what an amazing performer and artist Brantley is. He’s selling out venues all over without a major record deal up until recently. It’s hard to be a new artist in Nashville and he even talked about it when he performed in Nashville in November. He talked about how the establishment looked at him and told him he didn’t have a place here. We told him that he did.

    Thanks for just adding to the doubts that new artists have in trying to make their dreams come true. I understand that maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but lately reading some of these reviews I get the feeling your sick of ‘popular’ music.

    It’s not fair to the artists if your sick of it, because I don’t feel that you’re giving them a non judgmental review.

  6. Aldean (lite) I think not! I think you guys need to give Brantley some recognition. He wrote 3 songs that Aldean’s redone & gets credit for. You guys are in for a rude awakening. Brantley is the real deal & will blow country music away. How many country singers actually wrote their own songs? Not very many these days. Brantley will prove all these critics wrong & all of his fans will be saying,”I told you so.”

  7. Umm Brantley is amazing. SoRry but he’s more country than Aldean and yet everyone is loving Jason’s versions of Brantley’s songs. He makes them sound awful but bc he’s popular everyone loves them! Brantley Gilbert is simply amazing!

  8. Are you serious??? Brantley Gilbert is awesome and the songs that he does are awesome…. I dislike this article to the tenth degree! Brantley Gilbert rocks!

  9. BG is an amazing singer/songwriter. Just ask Jason Aldean who has cut not one.. not two.. but THREE of his songs and even named the latest album after one of them. If your looking for a “slower” more “country” song you should check out “She’s my kind of crazy”, “Fall into me”, or “You promised” just to name a few!! ROCK ON BABY I’D RATHER WATCH YOU ANYWAY!!

  10. On recent comments…
    More country than Jason Aldean? That’s not a very high bar to clear. Brantley’s supposed future commercial success is not going to prove critics wrong. Negative opinions are not invalidated simply because a song receives radio airplay.

    On the review…
    Yes, that about covers it. It does sound a lot like “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” As for the concept, I think Neal McCoy kind of did it better.

  11. Oh and about the comment “anyone who does the “name checking” without the basic undersanding…” It’s very understood that is what most of us “country” people grew up listening to and watching on the Grand Ole Opry! Just bcause he puts his own spin on HIS OWN MUSIC doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand where it all started.

  12. …didn’t josh thompson (“way out here”) do the same kinda thing not too long ago? this here proves that the former wasn’t obviously too memorable a song, hence, following up with a forgettable one looks to me like a semi-smart decision at best.

  13. I think Brantley is an amazing performer/songwriter. He sings from his heart, as I’m sure most of them do, but his songs, HIS SONGS, mean something to him. If you’ve ever had a chance to see him live, you’d understand why a lot of us are in love with him. People are going to give him bad reviews and what not, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s finally able to get his name out there and show country music that he DOES belong.

    As far as Jason Aldean, as others have stated, he’s cut 3 of Brantley’s songs. So that must say something. Aldean sees something in Brantley, or he wouldn’t even had bothered with his music. :)

  14. Checklist for a generic rock song about being country:

    -Name checking country legends? Yep, three times in the chorus, once in first verse (if Chris Ledoux counts), once in the second verse.

    -Heavy bass and electric power chords in the production, no semblance of country influence in the melody/chord progression? Yep.

    -Cliche buzzword references, without any attempt at presenting them in an original way? Yep – huntin’, fishin’, Copenhagen smile, “stone cold country by the grace of God”. (WTF is “stone cold country” anyway? Isn’t country supposed to be the opposite of “stone cold”?)

    -Claim of moral superiority? Yep (entire second verse).

    -Overuse of the word “country” itself? Yep (14 times).

    I remain convinced that Brantley Gilbert is a joke someone in the music industry is playing just to see how much he can get away with. So bad.

  15. All because he throws legendary names out in his songs doesn’t mean he doesnt understand all the history behind it. Brantley had never claimed to be 100% country, and thats perfectly fine with me. As an avid fan of his I’ve been to several concerts and he has said he enjoys the southern rock thing so I say more power to him. I’ve been a fan since he was selling cd on myspace so your damn right I’m gonna keep on supporting him! Anyone who can sell out venues without a known record label is pretty kick ass in my book!
    -Keep doing what your doing BG, push it to the limit!

  16. And I totally agree with Erin….I am a huge Aldean fan as well and obviously he see’s something in Brantley cause he’s cut 3 of his song and 2 of them have been singles!

  17. This review sparked so many points that I want to make, but for the sake of time I will just list a few:
    1. As a life long country music fan, I think that a reference to listening to Cash, Hank, Willy and Waylon on the radio is completely acceptable: Their songs may not be on constant rotation on the radio, but these icons are definitely still present on country music radio. Not to mention these are house hold names to most country fans (and others).
    2.You call it drama– I call it getting the audience fired up, excited, and proud to be from the country.. no matter what their location. “Country folks” have a strong set of values and a way of life that they live by, and I think that Brantley is just celebrating that.
    3. What are the guidelines of country music now days? Let’s face it nothing on country music radio is stereotypical “country” anymore. You’ve got splashes of almost every genre out there mixed in with country music. Superstars of today’s country music like Taylor Swift, Sugarland, and Rascal Flatts have a very pop kind of sound. We even have country music artist who have done hip-hop inspired country very successfully (Toby Kieth, Tim McGraw) Furthermore, I don’t believe Brantley Gilbert has completely pegged himself as strictly a country music artist. I think he’s the first one to admit that he has a very rock and roll, loud side to country music, but lyrically he’s all country. I’d suggest you listen to some of his others like Indiana’s Angel, My Kind of Crazy, his version of My Kind Of Party (also done by Jason Aldean), Halfway to Heaven, and Kick It In The Sticks, just to name a few. Brantley’s music has an outlaw country style that I find refreshing.
    4. Implying that Country Must Be Country Wide is a rip off of Neil McCoy’s The City Put The Country Back In Me is SERIOUSLY reaching. Really? That’s like comparing Blake Shelton’s ‘Ol Red and Garth Brooks’s The Thunder Rolls– they are both songs about cheating, but the story and the messages are totally different.
    If you have just one ounce of country in your body, then his music has to light some kind of fire under you making you wanna jump up and holler “HELL YEAH” with pride!! Lastly, this man is one hell of a performer. I recommend catching him at a small venue while you still can. Get a nice clean buzz on, drink lots of water, and ROCK OUT to his hell raising songs about how we live in the country!!

  18. I agree with Heather! He’s an amazing live performer. He’ll make you want to jump up and down and whoop some ass if needed. LoL!

  19. I don’t think my earlier comment ever got approved, but I’ll add some more to this anyway:

    The hardcore BG fans (which I include myself among) need to understand this is NOT a great song, and not even one of the best 10 songs on either album of his. It’s pretty generic, and frankly, I skip it every time it comes up on the CD. It’s just ‘okay’.

    But the rest of the commenters attacking or demeaning BG are also WAY off. He’s a fantastic live performer and an excellent song writer. If he were given the ability to showcase these great songs, he’d be far more respected, but radio demands filler like this, so this is what we all get.
    And stop saying his musical style isn’t “country”. Duh. We know. He knows. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him reference his own music as “country”, rather just influenced by country, because it’s such a big part of him and his life.
    I mean, a guy who declares Vern Gosdin his biggest musical inspiration and takes time out of his concert to do covers of his songs clearly has a respect and admiration for traditional country music as well.

    So to the doubters, I’d say there’s a lot you don’t see when it comes to Brantley that would likely change some of the negative opinions out here.
    And to my fellow supporters, we can only hope that BG continues to get the recognition he deserves and stronger, more unique material can be released in the future.

  20. Anyone that thinks Jason & Brantley aren`t country and Taylor Swift is, must be from the city! I have been a DJ for 17 years, heard about everything, Brantley is my favorite artist and has been for a long time. I`m so glad he is hitting mainstream, maybe I can start listening to country radio again and give my cd player a break. I do wish Kick it in the sticks would have been the first release, but it is what it is. And for BG live, I have my tickets for my fourth BG show, I haven`t been to see anyone else in the last 5 years! Keep up the great work Brantley!

  21. Well Ol’ red’s opening line is “I caught my wife with another man and it cost me 99”..but i was really just trying to make a point, that I do not think that BG’s song is all that similar to the one he listed..

  22. I hear a lot of folks emphasizing that Brantley puts on a great live show, which is fine, but let me just mention that we are discussing a radio single, not a live performance. If a song is poorly written, it doesn’t necessarily get a free pass just because the artist is a great live performer

  23. So I was just listening to Nashville XM 11 and heard this song come on. But, to my surprise, it was not the same Country Must Be Country Wide I knew.

    I took for granted the song would be the same as the one on the old album, but clearly I was wrong. It seems that Nashville has stripped it of the grittiness and more rock and roll feel of it.

    I can tell they added a good bit of acoustic guitar, had Brantley throw in all those interjections between verses and things, and changed his vocals a bit, especially adding the background echo or what have you at the end.

    So basically they attempted to make a song that sounds very un-country fit on country radio anyway. Seriously, I don’t think the original version of this song would ever get airplay because it’s loud, straight up rock and roll. And sounds nothing like Wanted Dead or Alive either. Even though I maintain this song is not great or all that exciting, this version takes a way the few things I liked about it in the first place.


  24. ok, it’s not traditional country, what IS on todays radio? Kid Rock? I think we’ll see that some critics don’t know anything about what people want. Brantley WILL climb the charts, just like Jason has with Brantleys songs. My Kinda party was a hit, and Dirt Road Anthem is on it’s way up now.

  25. “ok, it’s not traditional country, what IS on todays radio? Kid Rock?”
    Noooooooo. Try Sunny Sweeney.

    “I think we’ll see that some critics don’t know anything about what people want.”
    So this song should get a good grade because it’s “what the people want”? On the contrary, most critics do indeed know what “the people” want, but that doesn’t shape their opinions.

  26. If for no other reason at all… Brantley is great because he writes his OWN songs. How many artists can say that they have wrote every song on their albums? Clearly NOT Jason Aldean. (Although i do enjoy Jason’s music too!) Hearing people bash Brantley annoys me. Because he’s amazing live, his songs are full of heart and are all about his life, which as fans is something we like to hear, knowing the music coming from them, is about them, and wrote by them makes you feel closer to the artist.

    As for this song in particular it was one of my favorites actually. It is saying that “country” isn’t just down south. Country life, and people are everywhere. And I wish every country station did play cash, hank, Willie and Waylon.

    Another thing about Brantley, esp. if you’ve seen him live he’s not the typical “country” singer/artist. It’s more of a rock sound with country lyrics.

    Wanted dead or alive is a great song. Anyway, Brantley never labeled himself country; everyone else did because he’s from Georgia and writes “country” Lyrics. But if you get down to it the sound is a mix.

    Anyone who really looks into Brantley’s life, career, and music and still says he’s no good…. has zero taste in music.

  27. In his defense, Jason picked two of the crappy ones. And the third, which no one ever heard because it wasn’t a single, was actually pretty good. But yeah…

    The legions of BG fans that came out on this post are well intentioned, but not really doing him any favors…at least I tried to be realistic and fair with my comments…

  28. …i would have never thought that the next generation hat-acts would go for the tea-cosy to replace the stetson. de gustibus non est…

  29. I swear I’ve heard that melody before, and I’ve definitely heard the “message” in the lyrics before. Not having heard this guy’s music before, I was hoping that a song as terrible as “My Kinda Party” would have been scraping the bottom of the barrel of his songwriting, but I was sorely mistaken.

  30. The songs that are “well-known” (because of Jason) aren’t his in-depth songs. Listen to Modern Day Prodigal Son or Halfway To Heaven.
    And I have rarely seen artists have their name on every single song on their album. That was what really got me listening to Brantley.

    Brantley didn’t ask Jason to do his songs, Jason chose to. If you’ve ever heard “best of me” By Jason Aldean.. that is actually Brantley’s song.

    And a lot of country songs have the same “message” However they all present it differently.

    And Devin, i somewhat agree. I liked the original better and this song wouldn’t have been my choice for radio play. He’s got songs that are much bigger with his fans, such as “She’s My Kinda Crazy”…

  31. Lots of comments since I last posted here. Some reactions:

    This song *also* cites Chris LeDoux?! This just gets worse.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but no, the fact I roll my eyes at this song is not tantamount to dismissing Brantley Gilbert entirely. It’s an awful first impression, though.

    That Jason Aldean has recorded three of his songs (and later, it’s qualified that they’re some of his “lesser” writings) does not impress me.

    “Ol’ Red” is not “a Blake Shelton song.” Hoyt Axton wrote it years before Shelton recorded it. I first heard it on a Kenny Rogers album (If My Heart Only Had a Voice) that came out in the early 90s.

    No one should be appeased by the mere mention of an older artist, and no new artist should drop those names and I’ll tell you why. Those names mean something, because the artists whose names they are worked very hard to build careers. Do you know how long Willie languished in Nashville before ever breaking out commercially? For a newcomer to introduce himself by trying to associate himself with those legacies is offensive. What has given him the right to link his identity with theirs?

    Lastly, there’s the claim that he “puts his own spin on it.” There’s nothing original here! What, exactly, is the spin?

  32. The only reason I mentioned Jason Aldean is in response to several defender suggesting that since Aldean cut three of his songs, Gilbert must be good. To me, that’s not a viable defense, cinse I’m not a Jason Aldean fan, therefore, I don’t particularly respect his song selections:

    “…He wrote three songs that Aldean is given credit for…”

    “BG is an amazing singer/songwriter. Just ask Jason Aldean who has cut not one.. not two.. but THREE of his songs and even named the latest album after one of them.”

    “As far as Jason Aldean, as others have stated, he’s cut 3 of Brantley’s songs. So that must say something. Aldean sees something in Brantley, or he wouldn’t even have bothered with his music.”

    “I am a huge Aldean fan as well and obviously he see’s something in Brantley cause he’s cut 3 of his song and 2 of them have been singles!”

  33. I do agree that Sunny Sweeney is in the 2% of artists that are country. To me, country music should appeal to country people and their way of life. If BG’s songs don’t appeal to you, then I have a hard time believing that you are even from the country. I love songs about the things I know. Everyone in southern Indiana must think like me, considering you can hear it coming from truck radios at the gas stations, hear it people phone when they get a call in the store. All this without radio play? You better believe he is on his way! I’m always up for a friendly bet!

  34. One other thing, to say that writing hit songs for JA is no big deal, is crazy! I guess if it’s that easy to write hit songs, I’m gonna quit work and become a song writer!

  35. Well “cinse” .. I am a Jason Aldean fan… It is a big deal, In the country music scene at least, for Jason to cut Brantley’s songs. What platinum record selling artists are cutting your songs? Ah, that’s right. None.
    It’s okay not to like his music, we all have the right to our own opinions. But don’t bash him for all the wrong reasons !!

  36. To me, the song being pretty much unlistenable is reason enough. I’m not personally bashing him, but I’m not impressed with this song or his Jason Aldean cuts. Those four reasons alone make me less than enthusiastic about looking any further, especially since most of you are holding them up as reason enough to think he’s great. Devin admits that this isn’t his best song at least, though he still seems to like the song well enough. Furthermore, a couple of you have told us that he doesn’t even consider himself country. But since he’s marketing his music to country radio, that’s how his music will be evaluated by country music listeners.

    “What platinum record selling artists are cutting your songs? Ah, that’s right. None.”

    I’ve made this argument a zillion times, but if those of us who haven’t had a platinum selling artist record any of our songs don’t have a right to criticize a song, it stands to reason that you who is also in the same unrecorded position also doesn’t have much to stand on as far as telling us that it’s good. Of course, I think the theory is totally ridiculous, since one doesn’t have to be a chef in order to evaluate good and bad food.

    Rinse and repeat.

  37. I said I like it (not this radio version though) well enough, not that you should like it by any means. I think the review and assessment was fair. Don’t really have anything to add to this topic anymore, so I’ll stop reading/posting.

    If I were Leeann or anyone else who hadn’t been a Brantley fan prior, I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same way.

    Still think others should at least click one of the links from my earlier post and give it a try. And if you still don’t think he’s halfway decent, then that’s cool too.

  38. Devin,
    I will try your links. The fact that he has such a dedicated fan base is much more impressive to me than who has recorded his songs, unless Vince Gill starts recording his songs, of course.:)

    I definitely concede that much of this debate is a matter of differing tastes and different views of what country music should be and sound like.

  39. No one should be appeased by the mere mention of an older artist, and no new artist should drop those names and I’ll tell you why. Those names mean something, because the artists whose names they are worked very hard to build careers. Do you know how long Willie languished in Nashville before ever breaking out commercially? For a newcomer to introduce himself by trying to associate himself with those legacies is offensive. What has given him the right to link his identity with theirs?
    Amen, Travis. I really hate the namedropping trend because I see it as an artist’s way of pretending their music has substance by connecting it to a work of substance, when it has no substance on its own merits. It just seems like a crutch.

    I like the chef example, Leeann! I’m sure I’ll find myself repeating it next time I hear a fan playing the ‘You’re not a songwriter’ card.

  40. Wow. People really took that Blake Shelton comment seriously- like I said before, I just used the reference to make a ponit against that ludacris comparison made by the critic. Also, I don’t think BG is “name dropping” to associate himself with these artist. He is not comparing himself or claiming to be like them. He’s talking about them being played on the radio..They’re household country names that worked in the context- to get a point across.Or if anything pay hommage to them. I think a lot of people are just looking for something not to like and therefore are picking this song apart, and that’s unfortunate.

  41. You got us, Heather. We all secretly love this song, but we’re pretending to dislike it because we’re just looking for something not to like.

    I think the namedropping in this song is a pretty shallow form of “homage” to pay to anyone. You could easily swap out those three names with any others, and it would make hardly any difference. Besides, the song doesn’t pay any tribute to them beyond the lip-service mention of their names.

  42. Just thought I’d say again that the new radio version of this song is just terrible and obnoxious.

    Why must Scott Borchetta kill everything he touches…

  43. Devin – Scott Borchetta didn’t kill Trisha Yearwood, and she’s on Big Machine. The music was there, the airplay wasn’t. But that had little to do with him. She was getting lackluster airplay long before her move to Big Machine.

  44. I was making a joke more than anything, but I typically notice a divergence I don’t particularly care for in an artists style when they’ve switched to one of his labels.

  45. Criticize if you’d like but I can assure you, Brantley would listen to a station playing Willie & Waylon, as well as Hank, Skynyd, & George Strait, as referenced in Kick it in the Sticks. He may not have their sound but he definitely grew up listening to them & is still a huge fan. He’s a versatile guy that will listen to anything because at some point each song was written because it meant something to someone. He doesn’t put labels on his music although he’ll tell you he is more of a rockin country feel with a bit of southern rock in the mix. Even if you choose not to be a fan, take the time to listen to Saving Amy. He wrote this song about a close friend & it tells you what kind of a person he is. BG has never claimed to be a country singer nor does he play music for the sole purpose of making money or being a star. He loves what he does, that’s why he does it. He just happened to accumulate a huge fan base around his home town & as word has spread across country he has added to that # by the thousands. I live in the south & we do have stations that play classic country (waylon, hank, merle), as well as Texas Country. If the Nashville scene & fans aren’t accepting of Brantley & his amazing band, I’m sure there’s a place for him in the southern circuit. On a personal note, he’s a kind hearted, down to earth person who has feelings just like you & me so think before you speak. I’m a BG fan for life! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think you’re missing out if you don’t check out what else he has to offer.

  46. Um, Brantley is awesome. He has much better songs than this single, but I still think the single is amazing. Just saw him live a few days ago, it was sold out. He was sick and still gave an awesome show. And as to him not being country, have you even listened to his lyrics? And seriously, look at some of the “country” artists today. Carrie Underwood doesn’t even support rodeo! And Keith Urban?? Are you kidding me? He’s not even close to being country, except he can play the banjo. Give Brantley some credit. He’s awesome. Go deeper before you just judge on one song.

  47. I like how his lyrics mentioning country lifestyles and activities make it a country song. If you took this song and changed the music to a dance beat would it still be a country song? Change it to metal music or techno would it be country still? For Brittanie Wagnon apparently that’s all it takes is the lyrics to mention a few country legends and rural activities and presto you get a contry song, who cares what the song sounds like or how it’s structured.

    Also if Brantley doesn’t consider himself country why do his sheep keep trying to say he’s more country than other artists?

    Oh and one more funny thing mentioned by the sheep, he’s AMAZING!! because he writes all his own songs, guess I could be amazing too if I start writing my own songs, doesn’t really matter what I write about of if they’re any good as long as I write them all myself right? And really who does George Strait think he is having all those #1 hits and letting people refer to him as a legend he didn’t write any of it so he should be considered lesser than Brantley Gilbert…..

    This is what I’ve learned from his fans after reading their responses. I understand liking an artist’s work, I understand liking stuff that’s not all that great (my collection of cds has more than a few guilty pleasures), but I don’t understand why fans go through all this trouble trying to convince others that it’s great music whith such illogical arguments.

    Devin is the only one who came off as a normal person (there may have been another or two). and I’ve gone and listened to a few of his songs and am not basing my entire opinion of Brantley’s music on this song as Devin has suggested and I did find at least two songs I liked and may even download legally once they’re avalible here. None of this has any reflection on what I think of Brantley as a person as he may or may not be the nicest person in the world and it’d have zero impact on how I feel about his music. I don’t hate BG and honestly look forward to what he can potentially contribute to the genre if he uses all his strengths properly.

    Sorry for any body who may be offended by being called sheep but put yourself in the other view of things and read what you’ve wrote and it’s like you’re brainwashed…I’m just tired of reading these kinds of arguments.

    I’m tired and a little cranky so I really am sorry if I crossed any lines.

  48. My point is, Brantleys music is just as country sounding as most of the stuff out on the radio. Call me a sheep if you like, but there are a LOT of BG sheep out there! Writing his own songs dosen’t make him a better artist than George, but he does write some great songs. I’m not trying to get you to like him, just wish some so called experts would quit bashing him. I was always told, if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut!

  49. I don’t really think one makes a solid case for Brantley’s countryness just by pointing out that most of the music on country radio doesn’t sound any more country than this. That doesn’t say that Brantley IS country; It just says that genuine country is in incredibly short supply on the radio.

    Of course, definition of what is “country” these days is subjective, but it’s still fairly obvious that this single is influenced more by rock than country. Rock influence doesn’t necessarily make for bad music, but in this case the heavy rock overtones seem to be a crutch attempting to compensate for the low-quality songwriting.

  50. This new radio version is 10 times country-er and 10 times less rock-ish than the original album cut. Not that that’s totally relevant; just felt like pointing it out…

  51. Ben- I do agree, it dosen’t make him country, but it does fit in. I disagree with the rock influence being a crutch for bad songwriting. If you write songs that the majority can relate to, then you’re doing it right. I really like this song, but I too admit that it isn’t my favorite of his. Rock or country, the guy IS a great songwriter. Most of his songs are really connecting to people. I have a ton of requests for his songs, and just Saturday, I had a guy perform it in a contest. To me, this is really saying something, considering he isn’t even on the radio yet!

  52. Being as how jason aldean cut not one not twp but three songs that brantley has done or has had a part in is saying something. My kinda party grits and dirt road anthem in my openion were all ruined by jason. brantley has his own sound and its unique to him and I like it. Half way to heaven is an amazing album by him I still give him two thumbs up and look foward to him making it big cuz he can only be held back for so long.

  53. My bad I swore he did but ur right he didn’t. Jason slows the songs down and doesn’t have the smoothness that bg’s voice has. Dirt road anthem proves that comparing one to the other

  54. Screw everybody who doesn’t like Brantley Gilbert. He’s the best ever. And he writes all his songs. Unlike everybody else. Jason Aldean must love him. He does all his songs, so if you don’t like Brantley then you don’t like Jason.

  55. I only have one thing to say … If Brantley Gilbert can secure this loyal of a fanbase and get his music heard (& loved) by millions without “big money” record labels, just watch and see what he can accomplish with the big labels. He will get there and when he does his fans will “have his back” more than ever. Keep making us PROUD here in Jefferson, GA! Yes, I’m from his hometown.

  56. There’s a simple way to look at this and I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Just to let everyone know, I’ve been going to Brantley concerts for over 6 years now. When it all startin’ with just him and a guitar opening for Corey Smith. Then came the band when he played Skynyrd, Hank Jr., and other legendary southern rock anthems all night mixed with a couple of his own. Now to the point at hand:

    1.) The song mentions Cash, Hank, Willy, and Waylon. Most “country folk listen to those artists”. so in a song about country people why is it not ok to talk about the music they listen to. to me it fits with the concept of the song

    2.) As for the song not being country, what leg do you have to stand on if your arguing for either side. The term would be “modern country” and their are apparently no barriers to this genre of music. Southern Rock, soft rock, pop, and typical country all fall under the term “modern country” . . Brantley does southern rock and country so how could he ever not fall into the “modern country” genre.

    3.) Brantley is not stupid. He wrote this song for the stage performance and to get everyone fired up and rockin’ and rollin’ . . Some songs you write for great lyrics and some songs you write for the music . . if you don’t understand that then why are you reviewing music in the first place.

    4.) listen to the song “Saving Amy” which is a TRUE STORY brantley wrote about his friend that died after proposing . . listen to “Halfway to Heaven” which is a TRUE SONG about brantley himself . . . listen to “Them Boys” which is a song about his grandpa . . Listen to “Indiana’s Angel” which is about his mother

    The fact that your downgrading lyrics in a song that is about the music is somewhat pointless to me . . Do you listen to an acoustic song and bash it because of its lack of music quality.

  57. I don’t think we are listening to the same artist here. Brantley Gilbert is freaking awesome and is well on his way to the top. “Country Must Be Country Wide” is awesome and I am a down home country girl who loves to turn it up!!!! AND for the people who think he has no clue about real country music from back in the day; in reference to “Willie” as in Nelson; Brantley happens to be on Willie’s tour this year! So maybe the critics should do their research because obviously Willie approves and so do I!

  58. Brantley is amazing! Everyone has their own opinion and that is fine…everyone has their taste that they prefer! Brantley writes and sings amazingly! He has gtreat and loyal fans and only his fans understand how great it is to hear him on the radio.

  59. To all those bashing on Brantley’s music…i’d challenge you to write or sing something better or more fitting to your version of country. Yeah, maybe this song and the singles that Aldean’s released are more pop-friendly, but the industry won’t play an artist who is strictly old school country anymore…they need to spoon feed the masses pop-country and occasionally throw in a real country song. This forces artists to compromise on their sound on some songs in order to get their message out. If Brantley had been able to release Them Boys as his first single nobody would’ve questioned his being country!

  60. Sounds like dead or alive? not even close. I guess rascal flatts and taylor swift have ruined yals taste of country music. At least Brantley is singin about the backwoods and the country lifestyle and not some stupid love songs by sugarland that suck. who cares if it doesnt sound like country hes singin about it. I would rather hear him than the pop crap that comes on my country stations.

  61. Puleeeease. You people take yourselves too seriously. It’s a song. Chill.

    And what’s the point of a music review, anyways? Who cares what you think unless you are sitting in my house (and I feel like being nice).

  62. It’s funny how so many can criticize something new and bold. I remember when Waylon sang about Hank not doing it this way, Hank Jr definitely caught heat about his style and Bg is definitely not traditional. Listen to the lyrics and see if he is country. I dare you. I am from the hills in Arkansas and everything he sings about I have seen, felt, or been around. We still run shine, we still hunt and fish, and we still get a little rowdy on Saturday nights. I think if you would do some research, truly listen to this fella’s music, and then ask yourself if he is singing from the heart, you might reconsider judging him too harshly. His songs like play me that song, you dont know her like I do, my kind of crazy, and modern day prodigal son, speak highly of his songwriting and playing ability. Go to a concert, he is an amazing performer.

  63. All of you people saying that there’s not a station in every city that plays Cash, Hank, Willie, and Waylon. You got to understand that Brantley says in every STATE THERE’S A STATION, not every city.

  64. Honestly, who are any of you to put down Brantley Gilbert. Everyone has their own taste of music and there are a million of people that absolutely love him and his music. When yall get up there and do what he does then you can put him down. Until then, dont listen to him. All the negative comments is most uncalled for. He is one of the best and will be a legend. Thanks, have a great life!!!

  65. Why Stacy, I’m a music fan, like you. I don’t see you stating your credentials for writing your opinion here.

    As for this song, it has one virtue that I appreciate: it cites cityfolks as having not just the right, but the taste to enjoy country music. In the present radio environment, that’s depressingly rare.

    BUT….I actually had to google the lyrics before I realized this. The mushily muttered vocal and the equally muddy production made it impossible for me to understand what he was saying (and this after 3-4 hearings). So for me, it was awhile before I realized that it wasn’t exactly the same as “Way Out Here,” a song I detest for its isolationist message. Maybe the producer did screw up the radio version, I don’t know.

    But I do know this. No one in SWLA (southwest Louisiana) is playing Cash, Willie and Waylon) on the radio. Down here, classic country is cajun. So Brantley’s premise for dropping those names doesn’t even hold true here, in the deepest south there is.

    So, to summarize: (1) we are all equally entitled to our opinions; (2) the inclusive message of the song is nice; (3) the arrangement AND the vocal performance are sonic mush; and (4) like others have said, the name-dropping of country giants is a huge tactical error. Makes the guy look cynical and lazy.

    So that’s my opinion. Let the stoning begin!

  66. I smell a HATER!!!!

    To the people that have something negitive each time a artist blows up and kills it on the radio, You are lame.

    And if you cant appreciate all genres of music, you’re probably the ones that cant stand the new wave of music. Its ok to live outside the box, quit worrying about what your friends will think, like music for what it is, not for the genre it is in. just because you listen to old skool country dosent mean your tough.

    and brantley was saying that no matter where you go in the states, there is always a farm town that lives small town usa

    cincinnati, ohio

  67. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing “outside the box” about this song. The only reason Brantley ‘blew it up and killed it on the radio’ is that he stayed completely and totally inside the box.

  68. Guess what, Adam? When it comes to this song, I am a hater! Maybe that makes me lame, but I can live with that. Believe it or not, radio airplay doesn’t always equal great music. If it did, why would we ever hear Justin Moore on the radio?

  69. I would beg to differ on statement number one. In my hometown we DO have a station that plays Cash, Hank, and Willie to this day thank you very much.

  70. Ok, heres my review… but first a little background about me. I grew up in NY and never listened to country music ever as a child. When I moved to NC in 1995 I was immediately hooked by country station. I started exploring “older” country as well. I loved it all. Now fast forward to todays country. Its gotten way too commercial-glam-techno-goofy!!! I went to Youtube and watched the “Bottoms Up” video and have to say that I was turned off. He comes off as a gangster punk. Huge holes in his ears and tattoos which he clearly wants you to see. I gotta say that if this is the way country music is headed its a sad day. I know some won’t agree with me but there needs to be “Class” back in country… and the way some of these guys look is disgusting. Just saying….

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