Hidden Gem: Brantley Gilbert’s Song “Just As I Am”

Brantley Gilbert (Platinum Edition) - TSS

Brantley Gilbert tops the charts this week with his current single, “One Hell of An Amen,” and in its honor this evening’s hidden gem is an absolute masterpiece off the same album: the title track, “Just As I Am.” “Just As I Am” wasn’t included in the original release, delegated to a Platinum edition that came out mid-May of this year. Our own Markus Meyer praised the track, saying, “giving a performance that sounds as if he’s on the verge of tears, Gilbert delivers arguably his most emotional, personal performance to-date, helping the track reach elite heights.”

Gilbert wrote the song alone, giving an additionally raw and somber feel to the song, which describes the battle of giving up alcohol. Despite hits like “Bottoms Up,” which Gilbert still performs live with gusto, the artist is now a non-drinker, and lines like “you know, most folks don’t understand / that I’m talkin’ bout pourin’ out my best friend” enumerate the difficulties of that choice.

The song, lyrically, is a force, beginning “you said come just as you are / your skin and bones smell like a bar / you say you want me there this way / okay, well I’m on my way.” The song’s narrator is “too ashamed to pray,” so he puts his hands on the tank of his car and pours out the bottle, a prostration and a sacrifice in hope of salvation. “Lord I’ve tried it by myself / orget my pride, I need your help,” he implores before the chorus.

The song would be strong from any artist, but with Gilbert’s reputation as a reckless bad-boy, it’s an incredibly impressive offering. It’s a gutsy renouncing of the party culture his fans adore, offering a depth that some artists would hesitate to expose, and the execution is flawless.