DIARY - 25 SEPTEMBER 2006 - GIBSON BROTHERS CD REVIEW
YORK BLUEGRASS CROPS
fat lady's singing, and no it's not you/ it's just an old saying that's
been overused/ she's raising the roof top, a tune loud and clear/ and
I get the message, I'm not wanted here." - I'm Not Wanted Here -
Gibson Brothers have fertile roots for their bluegrass - the upstate
New York dairy farm where they milked by day and sang at church at
Ellenburg Depot, south of the Canadian border, is not exactly Kentucky
but it was far enough from the Big Apple to have a classic country
It was there Eric Gibson learned banjo after hearing Flatt & Scruggs
Live At Carnegie Hall and developed a penchant for the harmonies of
the Louvin Brothers.
Now, on sixth
album Long Way Home (Sugar Hill-Shock), they're belatedly winning
Eric and guitarist brother Leigh are prolific writers but kick off their
disc with one of six covers Mountain Song - penned by New York
bred Kieran Kane, Sean Locke and Chad Jeffers.
And it was on a front porch at Redford near the Adirondacks that Eric
wrote Callie's Reel with Roy Hurd.
The Gibson Brothers, like Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, have blended
their Louvin style vocals with a dash of the Bakersfield sound.
They revive Satan's Jeweled Crown, penned by Edgar Eden and cut
by The Louvins in 1958, and also revamp the Gordon Lightfoot title track
and Robbie Robertson's Ophelia. But their own songs - diverse as
the regret of Leigh's I Gotta Get Back To You, Any Man In His Right
Mind and Dreams That End Like This and Eric's ruptured romance
requiem I'm Not Wanted Here - are equally memorable.
it was a TV special on Merle Haggard that inspired Eric to write The
Way I Feel.
"I was glad that tribute was being played but mad at the same
time," Eric says in the liner notes, "mad that I rarely
get to hear Merle on the radio any more and mad that there's such
a thing as too country. I shut the TV off, went out to the kitchen
with my guitar and wrote another too country song."
That frustration with the corporate radio chains contempt for roots
country is reflected in the song's sentiments in the bluegrass sales
revival kick started by movies and TV.
an old guitar/ it won't stay in tune but it don't get out too far/ it
may be ragged but it's real/ nobody's listening but they know the way
They finish with Eric vignette He'd Take Her Back Again inspired
by Johnny Cash and a friend's heartache.
The Gibson Brothers blend of acoustic and bluegrass merits widespread
airplay - maybe discerning community radio shows will be their salvation
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