Rick Brantley
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Rick Brantley

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'I said, I know it's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it. I know it's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it, like it, yes, I do …'

The lyrics to the Stones' classic hit are simple, but even decades later they still ring true as if they were written yesterday.

With a seemingly every-growing need to categorize music with specific designations, it's not all that entirely surprising that a throwback artist like 22-year-old Rick Brantley would hark back to the most basic terms when describing himself.

'I just say its rock 'n' roll,' said Brantley, admitting a slight annoyance with the question.

'I grew up on the (Allman) Brothers, Traffic, (Bob) Dylan, The Band, (Bruce) Springsteen — I take all that and hopefully it comes out with a little bit of me on it, too.'

A Nashville resident for the past two years, Brantley grew up in rural Georgia, the son of parents who put a lot of stock in education. In fact, his father holds a triple doctorate.

So, it's equally no surprise that, lyrically speaking, Brantley has made sure to choose his words wisely; to make sure and say something worthwhile with his lyrics.

One listen to 'Peace on Earth.' and it's apparent that the young singer has a lot to say.

He's opinionated — in both song and conversation — to the point that some folks might even (and have) advised the young lad to just play. But, more importantly, when Brantley gets on stage with his recently reconfigured band, he's a dynamic showman.

His performance is as raw and powerful as it is emotional.

'I think it's organic enough that a country music fan will kind of dig it,' he said, 'and rocking enough that a hard rock fan will dig it. I feel like I can play with anyone, anywhere and do well.'

Before moving to Nashville, a city he said felt inviting from the moment he arrived in the fall of 2005, he was living in Athens, Ga.

But make no mistake about it — he was not in any way part of the scene that he described as part hippie jam bands and part college frat boys.

'I moved here with all the hopes and dreams that I always had,' Brantley said. 'What I do is not really a Nashville thing, but Nashville has really been a great base for me.'

A self-described 'journeyman,' Brantley claims that he can make a sound come out of just about any instrument, but that 'I'm not great at anything.'

Greatness is a relative term, and some would argue that if Brantley were great at anything it would, in fact, be as a songwriter.

A notoriously slow writer by nature — even now he only pens a half-dozen or so songs a year — he has become, in many ways, a prolific writer. His material is soon to be released as an EP titled 'Prize Fight Lover Soul Auctioneer.'

'It's not my job to give the answers,' Brantley stated, 'but hope I'm providing the questions.

'I hope that I still have a long way to go,' he later added. 'I'm still young. If I can develop every year the way I did this past year, then I'm pretty confident.'

- The Post and Courier; Charleston, SC


Discography

Rick Brantley - the Rick Brantley Revival

Summer 2008 Release - Prize Fight Lover-Soul Auctioneer
Featuring - "I Don't Believe In Love"

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Bio

When Rick Brantley opens his mouth, it is time to listen. Behind his thunderous voice, pounding piano, and pulsing rock guitar lies a vision, or, as Brantley puts it, a "battle cry." Expect to discover the heart of the human existence: the desperation and disillusionment, cynicism and longing, but also an inexhaustible hope. It’s as if he has developed a true artistic detachment that bleeds authenticity. It is hard to believe that the music and lungs responsible for this authentic 21st century "millennium rock n' roll" originates from such a young Georgia native, but Brantley sees his youth as an asset.
On stage, Brantley's youthful energy collides with his world-weary insight, creating an irresistible friction. Though his fiery music could certainly stand alone, it is the often-wistful lyrics that give Brantley's songs their dimension. He gives rock n' roll a conscience and an overwhelming sense of triumph and couples that with a belief that music must be more than just a soundtrack. In his own words, he views himself and his music as "a mouthpiece for many things: tolerance, freedom, love, hope, justice, peace...war...God's instrument to change this world."
It seems Brantley has created the perfect balancing act. He combines Otis Redding's moan and Joe Cocker's growl with all the heart-pounding intensity of a breathless Bruce Springsteen. Add a horn section, a couple gospel background singers, and an unshakeable purpose, and you find yourself listening to Rick Brantley. It is the flickering human spirit standing up to the grit of reality.