Monday, December 3, 2012

The Gibson Brothers at Home

The Gibson Brothers

Rooted in the chill, wintery land where the northern borders of the Adirondack Mountains meet the southern edge of the huge Canadian shield, the Gibson brothers, Eric and Leigh, never forget the land and people from which they come. They grew up on a small dairy farm only about thirty miles north of tonight's concert where they learned country and then bluegrass music while working the farm with their parents Shannon and Kelley, going to school, singing in church, and playing baseball. All these themes are ever present in the music which brought them to the summit of the bluegrass music world in September, when they were named Entertainer of the Year by IBMA, the International Bluegrass Music Association. Each year around this time, they give a concert for the people of the farms, woods, towns, and villages that gave them their start, and which they never forget. Tonight's concert was a concert for the benefit of the Holy Name School in Ausable Forks, NY, another small town near home decimated by last year's hurricane Irene.  It's what they do.

A Vermont Farm with the Adirondacks in the Background

The New Lake Champlain Bridge from VT to NY

Near Keene, NY

We try each year to go north to the Adirondacks for a day to see the Gibson Brothers near home. Usually it's been at their high school in Ellenburg Depot, New York, near the Canadian border, but Ausable Valley is as important a location, as it's where Eric taught and coached for four years before embarking on the brothers' full-time commitment to bluegrass music.

Backstage before the Show
Christine Reynolds - Principal
Holy Name School

Eric Gibson

Joe Walsh - Learning a New Piece

John Saroyan - Caught Outside NYC

Mike Barber

Kelley Gibson - Jamming

Eric & Kelley Gibson

Mike & Robert Barber

Before the Show

Super Fans - Lynn, Betty & Shari

 The Gibson Brothers - Leigh & Eric

Mike Barber

Clayton Campell

 Mike Barber & Joe Walsh

Intermission - The Merch Table

Joe Walsh

Mike Barber

As the concert ended, a few of us chatted about our own highlights from Gibson Brothers shows we had attended. Shari and Betty are perhaps the Gibson Brother's champs, attending almost uncounted (they keep count) numbers of their shows. Interestingly, we all had favorites here in the North Country...Ausable Valley, Ellenburg Depot, Lake Placed as well as away from home. I very much enjoyed last month's show in Washington, D.C. promoted by WAMU's Bluegrass as well as several festival shows. We seemed, however, to prefer concerts, although Eric has strongly stated in a recent interview they will continue to appear at festivals. We all agreed, however, that Entertainer of the Year is what they are. So did the large and enthusiastic audience at Ausable Valley Central School as they left to head happily home.