To most he’s rough, rowdy and rocking, but Brantley Gilbert fans know the life and thought in songs like “Three Feet of Water,” “One Hell of an Amen,” “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” and “The Ones That Like Me.” Given that Nashville is a songwriters’ town, the man who won the American Music Awards’ Favorite Country Album for Just As I Am and was nominated for the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year for “Dirt Road Anthem” wanted to give his songs a special treatment when his The Ones That Like Me Tour hit Nashville.
May 4, for one very singular concert, the soft-spoken, hard-hitting Georgia boy is enlisting The Ones That Like Me Orchestra (Conductor, Jim Gray) to join him for his set at the Ascend Amphitheater. If unthinkable crosses your mind, that’s exactly why the unpredictable musician is doing it.
“There are so many great songwriters in Nashville, I think it’s easy to get caught up in what an artist stands for – and maybe lose what those songs are,” Gilbert says of the decision to have a classical orchestra join him for his Music City concert. “Every song I write is a piece of my life, and over time, I’ve learned a lot of other people’s lives, too. That’s special, and this seemed like a very special – and different — way to present these songs.
“It’s the last thing people expect, I know. But I think when folks hear how these songs fill out with the classic instruments, they’re going to be surprised at what’s there.”
The conductor of this Orchestra is an in-demand and classically-grounded group. Their musicianship has bolstered everyone from Imagine Dragons, Patti LaBelle, and Ben Folds to Flaming Lips, Miranda Lambert, and Barbara Streisand. In addition, he’s worked with jazz legends Branford Marsalis and Diane Krall, as well as the Los Angeles, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, San Diego, Charlotte Symphonies and Boston Pops.
With the cold weather leg of The Ones That Like Me Tour kicking off Feb. 1 at Worcester, MA’s DCU Center, Gilbert is getting ready to bring his relentless rock/country show to the Northeast and Midwest. Staind’s Aaron Lewis joins the man who last sold out Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for the first 36 hard ticket shows of the year, making for a night of intense country.
“There are some things we all really like,” Gilbert says, “like a lot of loud guitars, drums that punch you in the stomach, and that can really kick you into another gear, especially in the winter. But to me, it’s when you strip songs down and put’ em back together, that’s when it gets interesting. I know Aaron and I are going to kill it out there, and I can only imagine how awesome hearing these songs a whole new way is going to be!”
Deeming Gilbert’s music “the soundtrack to Friday night in small towns everywhere,” critic Jon Freeman wrote at RollingStoneCountry.com, “Where the majority of bro-country’s standard bearers switched up their approaches upon Chris Stapleton’s coronation as country’s new king – softening their sound with boy band-flavored pop or moving away from the party vibe to more adult songwriting – Gilbert stuck to his guns and released his best album yet with The Devil Don’t Sleep.” NPR, though, sensed the deeper water, and offered this, “the tough guy tentatively wading into introspective territory…Gilbert is acutely aware of what keeps his audience feeling connected to him… “
Tickets for the May 4th show at Ascend Amphitheater will be available to members of the BG Nation in a pre-sale starting on Wednesday, January 31 at 10am CST and will go on sale to the public on Friday, February 2nd at 10am CST. For more information visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.brantleygilbert.com.