Single Review: Brantley Gilbert, "Kick It In the Sticks"

Brantley Gilbert originally released “Kick It In the Sticks” in 2010, and it failed to chart.  But that was before the one-two punch of number-one hits “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” reversed his fortunes at radio.  In light of Gilbert’s newly heightened commercial profile, the single is being re-released for another go-round at radio.

Much has not changed.  It was a terrible song in 2010, and it’s still a terrible song now. 

Not only is it radio bait through and through, but it’s radio bait of the most grating variety.  It hits the listener over the head with blunt force, and then coughs up the usual backwoods clichés.  The production is ridiculously loud, and generally sounds plum terrible.  Gilbert isn’t even a good singer, and his performance here amounts to nothing more than his usual tuneless rasping.

It’s not fun.  It’s not catchy.  It’s not clever.  It’s not well-written.  It’s not well-produced.  It’s not well-sung.  It’s not artistry in any worthwhile form, and it sure as heck isn’t “country” – not even by 2012 standards, or by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever. (A George Strait namedrop doesn’t change that – it only makes me want to listen to Strait instead)

Can we just lay off desecrating the country music genre with crap like this?  Just for a little while?  Is that too much to ask?  The fact that the song will likely be a hit this time around hurts my heart, and helps ensure that the country radio listening experience will not start becoming less painful any time soon.

Make it stop.

Written by Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Akins, and Ben Hayslip

Grade: F

Listen:  Kick It In the Sticks


  1. Absolutely nothing has changed except the fact that now Brantley has a label that can buy him air-play. Otherwise you would not be hearing this song at all just like the first time it was released.

  2. The “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” of Country Music 2012. Except that it’s not catchy as the Michel Telo’s song. But both are ridiculously dumb.

  3. Why is it that all these songs that are falling all over themselves to pretend they’re country never try to SOUND country? I’m sure that’s been mentioned before, but it continues to strike me as so ridiculous. The lyrics, while laughably dumb no matter what the production would have been, are even more ludicrous paired with a wannabe-rock track. The lack of self-awareness is both hilarious and tragic.

  4. I somehow doubt their cranking up “Marina Del Rey”, “Carrying Your Love With Me” or any George Strait song. In-fact, I wonder if Brantley Gilbert had to ask who George Strait was after he read the lyrics of this song the first time.

  5. …you know that country is heading in an awkward direction, when rusty ol’ wrecks are not on blocks in a southern yard anymore, but rolled into the sticks and rhett akins writes a matching tune to that. he’s come a long way from being a puzzled 4wd-voyeur figuring out that he was peeping at the wrong truck, to someone, who gives the world yet another of these great odes to burning logs.

    and seriously, when you want it really loud, hard and riffy, would you really turn to someone called “brantley” as your first choice?

  6. How country music fans and radio station programmers can keep accepting this faux “keeping it country” tripe, full of the name-dropping and hayseed backwoods cliches, is beyond me. This is the kind of thing that would make non-country fans stay non-country fans forever (IMHO).

  7. See, he could totally get away with this when he was a small time “indie” artist. He had that small but passionate group of fans who didn’t care if it was hard rock or pop or country, they just liked him/his sound. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work when you make it big and have to be labeled by a specific genre and judged by those standards. Not that it’s a good song anyway, but still.

    I’ll copy what I already wrote at another site:
    I just have to laugh. Between all the songs on his first two albums, there is a legitimate (DECENT!) country/country-pop album there. But for some reason they want to push this white trash rock and roll nonsense.

    I really don’t think this will get a whole bunch of radio play. Not #1 worth anyway. It’ll offend the sensitivities of too many ol’ ladies and people with taste.

  8. Devin: I would like to think you are right about air-play, but I’m willing to bet you that this gets a ton of air-play and will indeed be a huge hit for him based on the fact that he is backed by the Valory/Big Machine Label. The reason he’s become relevant is because he’s written some of Aldean’s biggest hits and he is now finally on a label that is going to force Country radio to play him.

  9. The country radio I use to know and love is GONE, GONE! It’s a machine run by robots. I use to love my country radio station and now they have gone over to the other side and I fear will never be back. They’ve set it on auto pilot and forgot about it. So sad in Georgia.

  10. Brantley Gilbert – “Saving Amy” and “Halfway To Heaven” Doesn’t release the right songs, those who think this guy sucks need to listen to those songs. Seriously, and I don’t even like this song.

  11. You’re right RJ. Those are two good songs, along with Them Boys, My Kinda Crazy, and from the first album: Modern Day Prodigal Son, Picture on the Dashboard, etc. Point is, he has some legitimately poignant songs that the general country music audience would enjoy. But most people make judgements only on the singles that you release and the image that you portray , and frankly Brantley’s suck right now.

  12. I listened to the 90-second preview of this song on iTunes and flashed back to 1989. This mess sounds like an 8th grade Warrant/Kix/Bon Jovi cover band with an unintentional southern accent.

    As others note above, why doesn’t this country song sound country? Is the genre that desperate? Reminds me of the “countrypolitan” sound of the 1950s-1960s, or the country-pop of the 1990s. The name-dropping is meaningless and cynical. “I’ll mention these other established singers & look like I know what I’m doing!” Nope. You can name-drop when you’re well established (see: “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and “Luckenbach, Texas”).

  13. He is absolutely horrible! He sounds worse than a grunting, mating, bull!!! How did this useless clown get a record contract???

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