Just As I Am is the Georgia native’s third studio album, and arrives four years after the initial release of his previous collection, Halfway to Heaven.
In the years between albums, Gilbert admits to Radio.com that “a lot has changed” in his life and careeer — including a rise in his national profile thanks to a series of radio hits and successful tours. “It’s been a lot of fun” watching everything play out, he says.
The first taste fans got of the album came when Gilbert released the debut single from the album, “Bottoms Up,” last December. Just this month, the song topped the country singles charts, becoming the third No. 1 hit of his career so far.
“I recorded it because it was so much fun to write,” Gilbert says of the song, which he penned with Brett James and Justin Weaver. “When Brett James brought it out, it was an idea that he and Justin had started, and I was lucky enough to join in and make it my story.”
“The song is kinda undeniable. It was lot of fun just singing. It got stuck in my head, and I played it for a few people and it got stuck in their heads.” Ultimately, he says, “it was easy to be me on that one.”
For Gilbert, the 11 songs on the new album are like the next chapter in the story of his life.
“The whole record defines where I’m at musically, from one side of the spectrum to the other,” Gilbert explains. “I think it shows relatively how bipolar I really am. I’m a Sour Patch Kid, like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type thing. So it’s got a little bit of both worlds in there. It’s got my outspoken, edgy side, and then what folks call my ‘soft side.’ I do have one of those, I just don’t let it out of the bag that often.”
Among the “edgy” tracks is the song “If You Want a Bad Boy,” which kicks off the album.
“I got the bad boy thing going on,” Gilbert admits. “I’m not so sure what I did that was so ‘bad’…. Well, actually, I do. But that was a long time ago. I’m rehabilitated, I like to think, for the most part [laughs].” He admits that his penchant for tattoos, chains and motorcycles contributes to that image. “After a while, people said it so much, it was like, ‘you know what, we’ll give it to them. If you want a bad boy, baby you got it.'”
As for the track itself, Gilbert describes it as “a straightforward song about ‘let’s go have a good time,’ kind of on the wrong side of the tracks thing. I’ve spent a little bit of time over there, and I enjoy it.”
Just As I Am track list:
01. If You Want A Bad Boy
02. 17 Again
03. Bottoms Up
04. That Was Us
05. I’m Gone
06. My Baby’s Guns N’ Roses
07. Lights Of My Hometown
08. One Hell Of An Amen
09. Small Town Throwdown
10. Let It Ride
11. My Faith In You