For Brantley Gilbert, living the music is what makes it real – and it’s given the Jefferson, Georgian an edge as both an award winning artist and 3X Platinum certified songwriter. When it came time to make a music video for his new single “Stone Cold Sober,” the outlying Country star wanted something that didn’t glamorize the party, but suggested a real glimpse as what happens after.
“I knew Shane could get that on film,” Brantley says. “He’s done a lot of my videos, so I know he’s great. But when you look at the stuff he’s done for artists like Avril Lavigne and Timbaland…you see he understands those moments when the good times wash out and you’re cleaning up the mess.
“In a lot of ways, that’s what the song is about, too: in the mess figuring out what you said, realizing it’s right and repeating it stone cold sober. The video really is about the guy telling the girl that all that stuff I said last night, well, I mean it – and I know what I’m saying.’ It’s pretty strong stuff.”
With by the chart-topping “One Hell Of An Amen” and “Bottoms Up,” closing in on Platinum and Triple platinum certifications, Brantely saw “Stone Cold Sober” as a way to round out the radio message of the 2014 American Music Awards Favorite Country AlbumJUST AS I AM. Written with Augustana’s Dan Layus and Brett James, the slow building midtempo considers what deserves to be said clearheaded in a strong, clear-eyed way. It is that putting the cards on the table approach that’s made Brantley a favorite of real people everywhere.
For Drake, who directed Panic at the Disco’s MTV Video of the Year “I Write Sins Not Tragedy,” as well as a pair of MTV Best Rock Video winners for Fall Out Boy wit John Mayer’s cover of “Beat It” and Paramore’s “Crushcrushcrush,” it is a knack for the raw places and almost unnoticed details that give his work their edge. For “Stone Cold Sober,” people will love the crashed out guy in the horse mask, the dude cuddling a chain saw, the abandoned garden gnome and the teddy bear floating across the pool in flames, but it’s the smeared lipstick phone number on the forearm, the late night stair-step conversation and the creeping realization on the hero’s face that tell the story, as well as Brantley’s straight-forward performance amongst the wreckage.
“Every party has a peak and some wild, crazy stuff – and then it stalls, and then it crashes,” Brantley says knowingly. “When you wake up the next morning, and you look around, it isn’t pretty and you sometimes wonder what happened. That’s when things get real. And that’s what I wanted to show people, not just a big bonfire, but this guy trying to figure out how he’s gonna find the girl… thinking maybe he’s lost her… and of course, all that trash.”
Decidedly sobering in Nashville’s party-centric landscape, the visual truly reinforces the sentiment. With its post-modern reality country, CMT was the logical place to debut the clip – and the network responded by giving “Stone Cold Sober” a World Premiere on their final Hot 20 of 2015.
“CMT has been great to us,” Brantley says of the teaming. “Just this year, they asked me to do ‘Crossroads’ with Lynyrd Skynryd, obviously heroes of mine. The band has been through a lot of changes, but they’ve stuck through and survived. That’s something you gotta respect and be proud of! And for CMT to World Premiere ‘Stone Cold Sober,’ that seems like keeping with the reason I want to make videos: to show people what this music is made of.”
The New York Times said of JUST AS I AM, “Mr. Gilbert comes on like a revving monster-truck engine, backed by heavy rock guitar, but there’s a slyness to his singing. Beneath his boxy exterior, there’s active intelligence about melody and texture. On this strong album –– his third in a row — he betrays no shame about his creatine-fueled version of country.”
The New York Times isn’t alone in their opinion of the man who wrote Jason Aldean’s #1 hits “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kind of Party.” Brantley kicks off the domestic leg of his headlining BLACK OUT TOUR January 28 in Saginaw, Michigan, taking his dirty Southern Country to the people of the Rust Belt and beyond.