It's difficult to overstate how important 'Kick It in the Sticks' is to Brantley Gilbert's career and the direction of country music. It's a line drawn in the red Georgia clay -- after two releases that held back -- to allow those not previously familiar with the Jefferson-born singer to get acquainted with his pacing and style. This is his 'Free Bird,' in that it's the first song fans and critics will mention in association with this talented artist. 

While the aggressive guitars and spoken-word delivery can be intimidating, Gilbert's message couldn't be more welcoming. Much like he did on 'Country Must Be Country Wide,' the singer opens his tattooed arms to ask those a little nervous about his rock-rap influences to give him a chance.

"Yeah boy I’m bout to show me a city slicker / How to kick it in the sticks with the critters down on our side of the barbed wire," Gilbert sings to begin the first chorus. The next few lines give birth to one of the better live moments in all of country music:

"Money grows in rows / And if it don’t you’ve gone broke / So we hang out by the bonfire / Just some good ole boys having a dang good time / We crank it up down here /We get loud down here / Throwin' down in the dirty, dirty south down here / Be an all-nighter with the hippies and the hicks / Jocks and bikers they all came to kick it in the sticks."

"That's not country!" some will scream, to which one of the most passionate fanbases in country music will answer, "Oh, shut up!" And there's the line in the sand. Argue if you want, but there's no debating Gilbert's earnest stories and undeniably country lyrics.

There isn't a trace of insincerity detectable when he sings:

"We’ll do a little frog giggin', cow tippin' / How bout a little skinny dippin', bass fishin' / Take it easy on the shine / Stay away from other boy's women / That’s one damn good way for a man to get it wooped down here / These boys tough down here / Get yourself tore up down here."

Technically, this is a re-release of 'Kick It in the Sticks,' as Gilbert released the song to radio when he was a part of Colt Ford's Average Joe Entertainment label. Country America wasn't ready for this song then, and they wouldn't have been ready now if its impact hadn't been softened by a successful Jason Aldean hit and Gilbert's two previous No. 1 songs. This tune is a powerful shot of sonic moonshine. You'll either love the instant high, or you'll spit it out and go back to drinking Bud Light.

5 Stars

Listen to Brantley Gilbert, 'Kick It in the Sticks'

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