For Brantley Gilbert, playing with a symphony orchestra is unusual enough. But when the CMA Awards Song of the Year nominee heard about the shooting at a Nashville Waffle House, he knew he wanted to do something to honor James Shaw Jr. — the 29-year-old man who disarmed the shooter and has already started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims’ families.
“When you see someone like James, who just jumped up and did what he did – and you think about the lives he saved, you realize what a special kind of guy he is,” Gilbert says. “I called my manager, Rich Egan, who heads up the I Believe In Nashville coalition, and asked if there was any way we could do something that would shine a light and remind everyone that heroes can be real life people. We came up with the idea of creating ‘I Believe in Heroism’ t-shirts that we will sell at our May 4th Nashville show and give the proceeds to James.”
Joining Gilbert at the impromptu press conference was Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, who will also be selling the shirts at his May 11 appearance at the Ryman Auditorium. The acclaimed singer/songwriter told the assembled media, “If you can’t get to a show, visit www.IBelieveInNashville.com and you can get the shirt, or donate to the GoFundMe pages set up for James and the families of the victims.”
Gilbert spoke of wanting to give back, to recognize these men as a way to inspire others to see their own inner hero. For the hardcore rock country star from South Georgia, it is the inspiration that will help us all make the world a much a better place.
“Bad people do bad things,” he offers. “But good people can do great things. Talking to James before we got up here, he said he’s not a superhero, he’s just a regular person. But I think there has to be some hero inside, that’s where that kind of bravery comes from.”
Brantley Gilbert established himself as a voice of the hardcore, hardworking American from his debut single, the No. 1 “Country Must Be Country Wide.” With a strong commitment to rocking hard, reaching deep and pushing Nashville’s boundaries, the man lauded by Entertainment Weekly for “swaggering guitars, catchy hooks, and a DGAF attitude” and Rolling Stone.com as “a brooding, hip-hop influenced rocker” continues working to honor and support the people who dig in and make our world better.
“When it’s not about me, that’s when I’m happiest.” Gilbert says. “More than that, when it’s about somebody who was brave, and we can honor them a little, that’s when it’s really good. To me, I can’t wait to play with the Symphony, but I’m really stoked to be here today with someone like James.”