A Modern Day Prodigal Son

by: Brantley Gilbert

Brantley Gilbert fits into the neo-outlaw, Steve Earle side of country, and he probably has more in common with heartland rockers like Tom Petty and John Mellencamp than he does, say, Randy Travis. Born outside of Athens, Georgia, he grew up with a soundtrack of R.E.M., Lynyrd Skynyrd, deep south soul, and plenty of George Strait and company, all of which tumbles into Gilbert's Red Dirt-like style. This set, which was originally released by Average Joe's Records in 2009, was Gilbert's debut album, and it featured strong songs like the opener, "Freshman Year," the striking "What's Left of a Small Town," and the good-natured "My Kinda Party" (a number one hit when covered by Jason Aldean in 2010, and also the title of Aldean's album from the same year). Average Joe's also released a follow-up album, Halfway to Heaven, in 2010, after which Gilbert signed with Big Machine's Valory Music imprint in 2011. Valory promptly reissued Modern Day Prodigal Son that same year. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi

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