Reviewed by guest contributor Christine Tomlinson
FROM NASHVILLE, TN (October 4, 2019) – With his first release in nearly three years, modern outlaw Brantley Gilbert delivers his take on love and marriage, redemption and life in a small town. Like his previous four albums, all 15 tracks on The Valory Music Co.’s Fire & Brimstone are either written or co-written by Gilbert, who considers himself a songwriter first and foremost. The album has a stellar list of songwriters from Jamey Johnson to Amy Wadge, Rhett Akins to Alison Krauss)
Fire and Brimstone is Brantley’s 5th Album. This album doesn’t stray from the typical BG sound. We still hear about trucks, running from the blue lights, and faith, But it is a much softer album than previous ones.
It has a much more sentimental feeling too – BG gives us a window into his life over the last few years.
All of the songs were either written or co-written by Gilbert.
Fire and Brimstone races straight in with tracks one and two Fire ‘t up and Not like Us – featuring the usual testosterone fuelled BG sound and lyrics. Good opening tunes.
They are followed by Welcome to Hazeville – with Lukas Nelson, Colt Ford and the legend that is Willie Nelson.
It should be amazing with that line up, BUT this is the track I would skip. It’s ok, but there’s not much to it – sorry BG!
Track 4 – What Happens in a Small Town with Lynsey Ell. The first release from this album, and definitely a popular hit on country radio.
Track 5 and 6 is where the album really begins for me! She Ain’t Home is a song about not being over your past love despite trying to move on. This will absolutely trigger a memory in most of the listeners I’m sure.
Lost Souls Prayer has been played to death in my house, as the title indicates, it’s a plea for help from a lost soul. I absolutely love the lyrics, and the song showcases that raspy BG voice that plays havoc with the hormones!
Track 7 – Tough Town would make an excellent radio song – let’s hope he releases this one as this would make a brilliant single. I can see myself at a gig singing this one at the top of my voice whilst throwing my arms in the air.
Track 8, and the excellent title track, Fire and Brimstone – featuring Jamey Johnson – is a slightly bluesy song very much in the Chris Stapleton style. BG’s voice is superb here.
Next is Laid Back Ride – let’s just say I want to be letting my hair down on this laid back ride with BG. Enough said!
By the title of Track 10, Bad Boy – I assumed this one would be a heavy track about fighting and tough guys but it’s actually mellow, his lover sees him for who he really is. I’m guessing this one could be from personal history
New Money is forgettable. Considering how good all the other songs are, I’m not sure where this fits in at all?
Breaks Down is Bro Country at its best! He is hoping his much loved truck breaks down by the side of the road so he can get laid. Yes BG I would be hoping for the same! Great tune!
Tracks Thirteen to Fifteen is where the album hits me right in the heart! BG’s authenticity is most apparent when it comes to songs about faith, love and family. Man of Steel and Never Gonna Be Alone are stand out tracks.
I’ve played them over and over and savoured every lyric – the perfect songs I would love to be serenaded with.
Track 15 and regrettably the last, Man the Hung the Moon is an absolutely beautiful song about fatherhood. You can really hear the emotion emanating from his soft voice – a letter written from the heart to his son and first born. The last bit with the baby laughing tugs at the heart strings.
To sum up I feel this is one of BG’s best albums to date – he hasn’t betrayed his style but has definitely shown a more mature and vulnerable side in his song writing and delivery.
Fire & Brimstone Tracks (songwriters in parentheses):
- Fire’t Up (Brantley Gilbert, Brandon Day, Justin Weaver)
- Not Like Us (Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Akins, Brock Berryhill, Amy Wadge)
- Welcome to Hazeville (Brantley Gilbert, Rodney Clawson, Andrew DeRoberts, Colt Ford) featuring Colt Ford, Lukas Nelson and Willie Nelson
- What Happens in a Small Town (Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Akins, Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne) featuring Lindsay Ell
- She Ain’t Home (Brantley Gilbert, Brian Davis, Justin Weaver)
- Lost Soul’s Prayer (Brantley Gilbert, Andrew DeRoberts)
- Tough Town (Brantley Gilbert, Blake Chaffin, Andrew DeRoberts, Josh Phillips)
- Fire & Brimstone (Brantley Gilbert) featuring Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss
- Laid Back Ride (Brantley Gilbert)
- Bad Boy (Brantley Gilbert, Andrew DeRoberts, Josh Phillips)
- New Money (Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Akins, Brock Berryhill, Brandon Day)
- Breaks Down (Brantley Gilbert, Jaida Dreyer, Josh Mirenda, Justin Weaver)
- Man of Steel (Brantley Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Cole Taylor)
- Never Gonna Be Alone (Brantley Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Erik Dylan)
- Man that Hung the Moon (Brantley Gilbert)