Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Gibson Brothers at Lake Placid Center for the Arts

Leigh Gibson

Eric Gibson

 Eric Gibson arrived at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts sporting a pair of black eyes to accompany the deviated septum (broken nose) he earned last week for forgetting that he's over forty now and can no longer treat himself like a kid by pitching batting practice from forty-five feet. His brother Leigh Gibson only brought his fine voice, wicked sense of humor, and new Henderson guitar. The Gibson Brothers appeared at LPCA with as tight and musical a band as they've ever had. At every position, they've improved and enriched their band sound by including players who are both individual virtuosos and band members without peer. Together, it creates a sound and vibe unique in bluegrass music without ever violating the forms and sounds of the genre.

 Mike Barber

Mike Barber has been with the Gibson Brothers long enough to be called the third Gibson Brother.  A North Country native who lives "off the grid," his strong bass playing and acute ear have helped create the Gibson sound. He always provides what seems like a simple bass background, but which, upon careful listening, emerges as rich, melodic, and supportive, exactly what a bass player should do. Often overlooked for more prominent players, he's one of the best.

 Clayton Campell

Clayton Campbell comes from Benson, Kentucky where his family owns and runs the Kentucky Opry, a country music and bluegrass venue. He grew up playing in the house band, although he has since moved to Nashville where he also does session work. His soaring fiddle style features Clayton's rising to his tip toes and audiences raising hair on the back of their necks. Next time you see the Gibson Brothers, spend some time watching Clayton listening for the precise place to put in his wonderful licks and fills.
 Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh continues to add his luminous, limpid mandolin play to the Gibson Brother mix. A native of Minnesota, he now lives in Portland, ME while working as a teacher and administrator at Berklee School of Music in Boston. Watching Joe's right hand provides a lesson in how to make the mandolin sing and contributes to the Gibson Brothers strength, the powerful ensemble sound they create.

Erin Gibson LaClair

Friday night's audience was lucky enough to get to hear Erin Gibson LaClair sing with her older brothers. The youngest of the Gibson siblings, Erin has chosen to stay home, teach school, and raise a family with her husband Matt.  Her crystal clear voice and modest personality bring audiences to their feet whenever she makes one of her rare appearances with her brothers and their band.  

Eric, Erin, & Leigh - The Gibsons

Big Brother - Little Sister
Eric & Erin Gibson 

In the fifteen or so years since they last appeared at LPCA, the Gibson Brothers have moved from being a good local band to establishing themselves as an internationally acclaimed band which delights audiences wherever they appear, whether it be bluegrass festivals, Americana events, or performing arts centers. Just returned from a successful trip to Europe where they performed in Germany, Denmark, France, and Italy they have recently appeared for the first time at North Carolina's signature bluegrass event, Red, White, and Bluegrass where they were greeted with great acclaim. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts provides a relatively small 350 seats with a warm sound and wonderful acoustics in the small town resort setting in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Lake Placid Center for the Arts

By eschewing the industry pressure to release a new recording each year, the Gibson Brothers have been able to assure themselves and their fans that each new recording will present well crafted and carefully chosen songs that fit well in their catalog and represent the best they can do. Two new songs currently being showcased in their performances offer perfect examples. "They Call It Music" is a story song Eric wrote which goes into the hills of Appalachia to encounter an old country fiddler who, when asked what they called the music he plays, says, "They call it music," This song gets inside your head and just rolls around in their. A hit if there ever was one. "You Are My Friend" is an anthem to friendship and love, a fitting followup to "Help My Brother." Each song represents the kind of care, craftsmanship, and thoughtfulness we've come to expect from the Gibson Brothers.