Archive for the ‘The Gibson Brothers’ Tag
The Gibson Brothers have been a Fervor Coulee favourite since their Sugar Hill debut Bona Fide was released in 2003. It was a very strong album, ticking off all the requirements of a bluegrass album of the day: a railroad song, a Tom T. Hall classic, a road song, a song about bluegrass, another about a favoured instrument, an instrumental standard, a metaphor-laden gospel piece…Despite this seemingly contrived set of requirements, it warranted notice, and still does.
Fourteen years and eight albums later (bringing their release total to thirteen, I believe) Eric and Leigh Gibson are at the top of the bluegrass world, a pinnacle at which they’ve resided for a decade. In The Ground may be their finest yet. An album of self-written songs, it isn’t like anything they’ve before accomplished. Still bluegrass, of course, but taking things to yet another level. My review has been published by Lonesome Road Review; I hope you will consider giving it a read.
I appreciate each and every PR and label rep, band member, manager, and spouse who is willing to take the time to send me a real, live compact disc to review. In these days of shrinking budgets and miniscule margins, I truly am thankful that some folks still see the value of servicing independent writers with discs. I can’t do what I do without that support.
This weekend I wrote a review for the new album from The Gibson Brothers. It is a wonderful tribute to the music that influenced Eric and Leigh as they were developing their musical sensibilities.
Comparing my musical development to the Gibsons’ seems apt: if I ever released such an album, I’d have to cover Three Dog Night, Clarence Carter, Mark Dinning, The Monkees, David Dundas, Sammy Davis, Jr., the themes from Gilligan’s Island and My Mother the Car, The Angels, Mouth and MacNeal, Suzi Quatro, and Brian Hyland…which, if we are honest, has a chance to be the greatest bluegrass album ever created!
But, I have digressed myself.
The Gibson Brothers, Brotherhood, reviewed at the Lonesome Road Review.
I am kinda ticked they didn’t take my suggestion to include “Cuba” as a bonus track.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
These types of lists are fairly self-indulgent, but most things we do seem to be. What the heck, then?
I am fairly confident in my choices this year- I created lists as the months passed, and have considered well in excess of a hundred albums for placement. Here then are my favourite roots music albums of the year, accompanied by links to longer pieces I’ve written or, alternately when I didn’t write about a particular album, video.
[Update: #25 has been revised. Someone asked why so little mainstream country. Answer, I don’t listen to most of what would be considered modern country. I didn’t listen to the Brandy Clark album enough yet to place it in my Top 25, but I am really enjoying it. Whether that is mainstream…]
Favourite Album Covers-
1. Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby- Live Cluck Ol’ Hen
2. Guy Clark- My Favorite Picture of You– Great story behind this one. Well executed.
3. Noam Pikelny- Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe– some concert posters in the background may have pushed it over the top
4. Sturgill Simpson- High Top Mountain
5. Jack Lawrence- Arthel’s Guitar
Favorite Covers and Tribute Albums-
1.Don Rigsby- Doctor’s Orders: A Tribute to Ralph Stanley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MNcu_x6_xY
2. Let Us In Americana- The Music of Paul McCartney
3. Unsung Hero : A Tribute to the Music of Ron Davies
4. Joe Mullins & Junior Sisk- Bluegrass Hall of Fame https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/junior-sisk-joe-mullins-hall-of-fame-bluegrass-review/
5. Jack Lawrence- Arthel’s Guitar
6. Martyn Joseph- Tires Rushing By in the Rain
7. Ben Sollee- The Hollow Sessions
8. You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold
9. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs- Under the Covers, Vol.3
Favourite Reissues and Archival Releases of the Year-
1. George Jones- The Complete United Artists Solo Singles
2. Steve Forbert- Early On: The Best of the Mississippi Recordings and the Alive on Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim twofer, more concise and accessible than the previous Rolling Tide reissues
3. Townes Van Zandt- Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Sessions & Demos 1971-1972
4. Guy Clark- Dixie’s Bar & Bus Stop
5. The Bottle Rockets- The Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side– The Bottle Rockets was and is one of the greatest Americana/alt.country albums ever recorded. The bonus tracks provide further context for the days that I wasn’t aware of until they were over. So enthralled with that album, I’ve allowed The Brooklyn Side to sit on the shelf untouched since the first and only time I played it all those years ago. My mistake. One I won’t allow to be repeated.
6. Billy Bragg Life’s A Riot with Spy vs Spy, 30th Anniversary Edition A most concise vision of the power of words and music; comes with a recent live encore of the 7-track e.p.
7. James Keelaghan History: The First 25 Years
Favourite Various Artists and Compilation Albums-
1. Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
2. The Daughters of Bluegrass- Pickin’ Like A Girl https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/daughters-of-bluegrass-pickin-like-a-girl-review/
3. God Didn’t Choose Sides
4. Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways
5. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
The following are my favourite stand-alone albums of 2013, often the albums I spent the most time with this past year (or, in the case of late year releases, the albums I feel I will end up spending the most time with):
1. Guy Clark- My Favorite Picture of You: The elder statesman does it again, producing another exceptional collection of songs, all but a cover of a Lyle Lovett song co-writes. Beautifully sung and played. Clark’s thirteenth album of new material, recorded at age 71, was head and shoulders this past year’s finest roots music album. If there is justice, and voters were actually listening, he’ll receive a Grammy in January. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIftiMZPVsE&list=RDntpyFfef-NA
2. John Reischman- Walk Along John https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/john-reischman-walk-along-john-review/
3. J. R. Shore- State Theatre https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/j-r-shore-state-theatre-review-the-polaris-music-prize/
4. Slaid Cleaves- Still Fighting the War: Gives ol’ Guy a run for his money. http://slaidcleaves.com/category/videos/
5. Mike Plume- Red and White Blues: Following up the very excellent 8:30 Newfoundland, Mike Plume returned not only with a most sincere Stompin’ Tom Connors tribute, but a set of songs- almost equal parts Maritime stomper and prairie balladry- that will soon stand with his best. http://mikeplume.com/steelbeltedwebsite/?page_id=19
6. Kimberley Rew- Healing Broadway: Pub roots. http://www.kimberleyrew.com/
7. Bruce Foxton- Back in the Room: If by roots you mean rock n roll. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxMnWmrACM
8. The Gibson Brothers- They Call It Music https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/the-gibson-brothers-they-call-it-music-review/
9. Chris Jones & The Night Drivers- Lonely Comes Easy https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/chris-jones-the-night-drivers-lonely-comes-easy-review/
10. D. B. Rielly- Cross My Heart & Hope to Die https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/d-b-rielly-cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-review/
11. Darden Smith- Love Calling https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/darden-smith-love-calling-review/
12. Robbie Fulks- Gone Away Backward http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T00vjRCmf3g
13. The Del McCoury Band- The Streets of Baltimore: Experience counts for a whole lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_K_7pcdvck
14. Leeroy Stagger- Truth Be Sold https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/leeroy-stagger-truth-be-sold-review/ http://exclaim.ca/MusicVideo/ClickHear/leeroy_stagger-cities_on_fire_video
15. Alice Gerrard- Bittersweet https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/alice-gerrard-bittersweet-review/
16. Noam Pikelny- Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqys8Ez7Cno
17. Marshall Chapman- Blaze of Glory: Another great album of honest roots rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azPRk89nKaQ
18. Holly Williams- The Highway: Purchased after reading a couple reviews and having never heard her; glad I did. http://www.hollywilliams.com/portfolio-items/the-highway/
19. Sturgill Simpson- High Top Mountain: I’m glad all music isn’t this well-grounded in the country tradition. Makes it all the more special when you find it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNV16tz1NK0
20. John Paul Keith- Memphis 3 A.M.: A long-time favourite singer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWk5Yo9dIG0
21. James King- Three Chords and the Truth: Only bought this one before Christmas; need to listen more, but nothing to lead me to believe it isn’t going to stay with me for a long time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWnKoIXS1KU
22. Kim Beggs- Beauty and Breaking: an exceptional collection of song that are already familiar. With more listens, I’m confident it will become even more appreciated. http://www.kimbeggs.com/videoplay.html?video=http://www.youtube.com/v/mL45VqBql00
23. Jeff Black- B-Sidea and Confessions, Volume Two https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/jeff-black-b-sides-and-confessions-volume-two-review/
24. Peter Rowan- The Old School https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/peter-rowan-the-old-school-review/
25. Blue Mafia- My Cold Heart https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/blue-mafia-my-cold-heart-review/ Was in consideration right up until I wrote the final draft. Another listen brought it forward, knocking Emmylou & Rodney out of the 25th spot. I’m sure they will recover.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell- Old Yellow Moon: Once upon a time, an album this stunning would be much higher that #25; that is one indication of how great the last year has been. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MNcu_x6_xY
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee so often in 2013, and I hope you will continue to find roots music opinion of interest in 2014 and beyond.
As always, Donald @FervorCoulee on the Twittering thing.
The last month has been tough on me; many things are calling for my attention, and writing has had to fall by the wayside. I have been listening to some great stuff- the new Peter Rowan, the Frank Solivan, some great Steve Forbert music from the past. The Gibson Brothers’ new album They Call It Music is spectacular, and my review of it has been posted at the Lonesome Road Review.
The Gibson Brothers
They Called It Music
5 stars (out of 5)
By Donald Teplyske
At a time when select Americana labels seldom release a bluegrass album, Compass Records is coming to the fore as a consistent source of good bluegrass: the Special Consensus, Dale Ann Bradley and Larry Stephenson, of course, but also Peter Rowan, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Rebecca Frazier, the Bankesters, and Claire Lynch… the new releases keep coming.
The Gibson Brothers joined the Compass fold a couple albums back, and since that time have rapidly built upon the foundation they established recording with Hay Holler and Sugar Hill. Each of the album’s I’ve heard from the Gibson Brothers has had much to recommend it, but there comes the time where a new album from almost any superior bluegrass band is met with a bit of a shrug. We tend to take our “stars” a bit for granted, expecting every album to be “great,” whatever that means.
Maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but I suspect I’m not.
By near any measure, the Gibson Brothers are at the pinnacle of the bluegrass world. They are the reigning International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year, and have picked up a handful of awards from that organization the past three years. At various times, they have topped the most significant bluegrass charts- Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, and Bluegrass Music Profiles.
They Called It Music is pretty darned fabulous. One cannot accuse the Gibsons of resting on their laurels; they continue to push themselves toward producing stronger, more varied music, recording songs that they have spent time uncovering, as well as more than a few they’ve written themselves. The gentler, songwriter-type songs are adroitly mixed with catchier radio numbers, a pair of which—”Buy A Ring, Find a Preacher” and the title track—are frontloaded.
No two songs can be confused, and the album’s closing number, an Eric Gibson composition entitled “Songbird’s Song” is incomparable; transcending bluegrass while strengthening its definition, this one may prove timeless.
There is no mistaking the vocal intensity of the Gibson Brothers, and on They Called It Music the emphasis on harmony is as palatable as ever. Leigh Gibson, the younger brother, has a smooth, pleasing voice while the Eric’s is higher, more piercing and Del-like: lovely, that.
No matter which is singing, it sounds real good. Leigh’s finest of many lead turns may be on a terrific new song from Joe Newberry, “The Darker the Night, the Better I See;” this barstool anthem is pitiful and blue—absolutely beautiful. I was gobsmacked from the moment he sang, “I’ve honky tonked most all my life, my day begins at the edge of night.” Leigh also takes the lead on his brother’s “Dusty Old World,” a song that contains the album’s cleverest line: “My heart’s a loyal hound and when love it’s found, it won’t leave your side once its tracked you down.”
Meanwhile, Eric shines when singing Mark Knopfler’s “Daddy’s Gone to Knoxville” and the title track, a song that emphasizes artificial labels are less important than the music itself. Reno & Smiley’s (and the Paisleys’, and Cowboy Copas’) “Sundown and Sorrow” serves as a fine snippet of what the Gibson Brother’s sound is all about—yesterday’s classic lines within a sleek outfit designed for today.
The duo return to Shawn Camp on this album. Written with Loretta Lynn, “Dying For Someone to Live For” flat out stops time; this one could go on repeat for an hour without bother. As well, with Camp the brothers wrote the reflectively sentimental “Something Comin’ to Me”, a song made more personal to the co-writers with the addition of lyrics in honour of their passed father.
Their band had been stable until the recent departure of Joe Walsh, who plays mandolin throughout this album. Walsh’s contributions to the album are obvious, and I appreciated his playing several times, including on “Dying For Someone To Live For” and his gentle kick-off to “Home On The River.” Fiddler Clayton Campbell lays out sweetness at every opportunity (as on the album’s lead song) while co-producer and bassist Mike Barber appears to be in for life considering how long he’s been part of the family; his exploration of deep tones is much appreciated within “Something Comin’ to Me” and “Home On The River.”
A masterful recording, this eleventh one from The Gibson Brothers. If it ever did, it should no longer matter from which state they originate, or whether their family roots are entwined with Kentucky grass. The Gibson Brothers know bluegrass like few others, and they perform it as enthusiastically and professionally as the finest in the business. Indeed, an argument could be made that, with this album, they demonstrate that they are the finest in the business.
9:04- I am not the biggest fan of LRB. When they came to Red Deer they performed very well and I enjoyed listening to them, and when I saw them at Stony Plain five or six years earlier they did the same. But their songs just don’t stick with me the way others’ do; without consulting notes, the only song I really recall from their Red Deer show is “I Bought Her a Dog,” and that’s not even one of ‘their’ songs. Still, folks love them, so I’m well in the minority. “The RCA Phonograph Record Time Machine” is a good one I have to admit. Nice guitar touches.
9:07- Dale Ann Bradley and Tim O’Brien- two of my favourite voices together- to present the next awards. A shout out to the radio hosts, bloggers and journalist- I’ll say, Thank you, for that, Tim.
EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Darin & Brooke Aldridge; Balsam Range; The Boxcars; Sierra Hull & Highway 111; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
With two of the listed bands having won awards tonight already, I’d say BR and Boxcars are the favourites- The Boxcars, not a surprise given how the evening has went.
I wonder what the impact of these awards have on a band like The Boxcars’ overnight and next week sales.
9:11- Zip file and project of the year nominees:
The All-Star Jam: Live At Graves Mountain; Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, The Crowe Brothers, Lonesome River Band, Mark Newton, Lou Reid & Carolina, Carl Jackson, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Carrie Hassler with Brand New Strings (artists); Mark Newton & Carl Jackson (producers); Rural Rhythm Records (label)
Almost Home, Larry Sparks (artist), Larry Sparks (producer), Rounder Records (label)
The Boxcars, The Boxcars (artists), The Boxcars (producers), Mountain Home (label)
Help My Brother, The Gibson Brothers (artists), Compass Records (label), Eric & Leigh Gibson and Mike Barber (producers)
Rare Bird Alert, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers (artists), Tony Trischka (producer), Rounder Records (label)
Trains I Missed, Balsam Range (artists), Balsam Range (producers), Mountain Home (label)
This one could go several different ways- I am still hoping for the Larry Sparks album, but am not a fool. I’m sure it won’t win. I think I predicted Help My Brother, so…The Gibson Brothers- Help My Brother
8:07- I’m guessing a standing ovation for The Grascals and the girls who joined them for “I Am Strong.” A moment for them to remember and not even I’m a bit enough jerk to criticise that performance.
8:08- Carl Jackson and Louisa Branscomb to present
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Dailey & Vincent
The Gibson Brothers
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
The Gibson Brothers finally come through for me. I think I called that one, or did I go with Blue Highway?
8:11- The first mention of ‘it is just an honour to be nominated.’
8:12- A teleprompter slam. But rehearse, I’m guessing.
Some life from Carl J. Some spontaneity.
Barry Bales, Mike Bub, Missy Raines, Mark Schatz, Marshall Wilborn
And the 2011 IBMA Bass Player of the Year is…Marshall Wilborn. That one I did predict.
I have the highest regard for Marshall. He has been to Red Deer a couple times, once with Lynn Morris and again with Flamekeeper. A gent he be.
8:15- you can feel the love for The Boxcars as they head into “December 13.” A very good band, without doubt. Don’t take my previous comments out of context, please; I’ve enjoyed listening to their album since I bought it. I just think a band- any band- has to ‘earn’ their awards. They are all vets, so I guess they’ve earned the accolades. Just not as The Boxcars, perhaps.
I have a feeling the results of tonight will prove me wrong. Again.
8:18 Another break. Kyle- “Song of the Year” isn’t a major award? Okay, I’ll stop.
8:19- Live to tape with Chris Jones: Michael Cleveland and Charlie Lawson- I really respect M.C.’s devotion to traditional bluegrass and really wish I had been more ready to talk bluegrass with him when he was in Red Deer with Dale Ann the first time. Obviously a wealth of information.
The Gibson Brothers
Ring the Bell
Recorded with a revitalized touring band, the brothers from upstate New York are nothing if not consistent. With their third impressive collection in a row, the formula remains true.
Strong original material is their forte, while a few well- known tunes are provided the distinctive Gibson Brothers’ treatment- not hard core or even traditional, but definitely bluegrass through and through. Their classic country influences are always apparent. Every Gibson Brothers album has a familiar tone, one that somehow simultaneously brings to mind Tom T. Hall, The Band, The Osbourne Brothers, and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.
Eric and Leigh Gibson are bright bluegrass vocalists, and Eric’s five-string shines through their unembellished arrangements. The album opens with long, mournful fiddle notes that soon pick up into something deceptively upbeat. From descriptions of the past (Farm of Yesterday, Bottomland) to songs of a future (Forever Has No End, I Can’t Like Myself), with a bit of a stop at the church of bluegrass (Ring the Bell), the Gibson Brothers have emboldened their reputation as one of the finest contemporary bluegrass bands.