Brantley Gilbert certainly brought his ‘A Game’ when he visited Central, New York July 10 at the Turning Stone Casino. This Georgia born entertainer, recently awarded the coveted ACM 2013 Top New Male Artists award, has certainly been busy over the last few years cranking out hit songs for himself and other Nashville artists. Touring with the likes of Willie Nelson, Eric Church, Toby Keith, and Tim McGraw. Recently in Upstate, New York as one of the many top-notch country performers at the Taste of Country Music Festival at Hunter Mountain, concert goers got a small taste of the no holds barred artist that writes and plays from the heart sharing from real life experiences. This young man makes no excuses for who he is, what he believes in, or how he looks. He’s been labeled a bad boy of country music, however his polite persona shines through to give you a hint that there is so much more to this artist than what’s on the surface.
Opening for Brantley was newcomer Brandon Lay who took over the stage and warmed up this audience; winning over new fans left and right. Covering original songs of his own and covers like a pro, it was our honor to give him a warm CNY welcome to our neck of the woods, with the hopes of returning again one day soon on his own headline tour.
I was really looking forward to seeing this rebels full show, having seen Brantley just a few weeks prior at the Taste of Country Music Festival, and he absolutely didn’t disappoint. As a performer, it’s great to have hit songs to belt out to an audience, but it’s the delivery that makes the show. It’s the opening number that pumps up the audience and begins the evening, it’s the interaction with the audience as the performer is singing, and it’s the momentum that builds as each song plays into the next one. Brantley has an innate ability to deliver these critical aspects that hook his audience and reels them in number after number. His opening number and accompanying video totally delivered this one-two-punch that hooked the audience, built them up to an expectation of greatness, and delivered from that point on. No matter how much of a showman this young man is, you cannot mistake his talent in songwriting. It’s his songwriting that truly shines bright amongst the chains and tough exterior, as he shares in each number a piece of who he is and how he perceives his life experiences.
Surrounded by some of the top-notch musicians in the business, his band perfectly accompanies Brantley on each number delivering the ambience in one killer set. With Patrick Stevens on guitar and background vocals, Jonathan Waggoner on bass and background vocals, Ben Sims on drums and percussion, BJ Golden on the mandolin ,acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards, and background vocals, and Noah Henson rounding them out on rhythm guitar and background vocals, these guys commanded the stage meshing perfectly together to bring the show all together and build up that electric feel that delivers this show over the top.
Brantley Gilbert is a force to be reckoned with as country music switches tides to deliver an eclectic sound that mimics a mixture of country, bluegrass, and rock and roll. Perhaps it’s this mixture and the fact that Brantley doesn’t sway away from his goal to deliver his sound his way that has hooked me as one of his BG Nation members. Coming back through NY August 22n to the Watertown Fairgrounds, it is my suggestion if you love the new direction of country rock you definitely need to take the time and the ride up north to see Brantley.