Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gibson Brothers Sign With Rounder Records

Marion Levy, Leigh Gibson, Eric Gibson & Ken Irwin
Final Discussion of Rounder Signing at Jenny Brook

The Gibson Brothers seem more at home at the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in Tunbridge, VT than perhaps any other place where we've seen them. Therefore, it seems fitting that Ken Irwin and Marion Levy, two of the original founders of Rounder Records, journeyed to the Tunbridge World:'s Fairgrounds to finalize the Gibson Brothers contract. Founded in 1970, when Irwin, Levy, and Bill Nowlin were still college students in Boston, Rounder grew to be one of the most prolific and successful publishers of traditional  and roots music as well as cutting edge material. They now have a catalog of nearly 4000 recordings, many of which are slowly being re-issued in digital versions including the cover art, liner notes, and other relevant material. According to Wikipedia, Rounder Records catalog number 0044 changed the course of bluegrass music. "This one album changed the nature and direction of bluegrass music to an extent that everything after it has to be viewed in light of this album, and today this album is considered a landmark in bluegrass music without which no collection is complete." Bluegrass music remains one of Rounder's principle focuses, including artists like Allison Krauss, Tony Trischka, Blue Highway, Steve Martin, Darrell Anger  and many others. 

Eric & Leigh - The Gibson Brothers

The recording history of a band may sometimes serve as an indication of its genesis and progress. The Gibson Brothers have released eleven CD's from Underneath A Harvest Moon in 1994, the only Gibson Brothers album no longer available, to their most recent release, They Called It Music. During that time seven of their albums have reached #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts. They have won ten IBMA Awards, beginning with Emerging Artist of the Year in 1998 and culminating with Entertainer of the Year Awards in 2012 and 2013. Along the way they won awards for Vocal Group of the Year (2011, 2013), Song of the Year (2010, 2013), Album of the Year (2011), and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (2010, 2012). Eric was named the second Songwriter of the Year in 2013. During the period, they have recorded for Hay Holler Records, Sugarhill, and Compass before their signing with Rounder. They also spent a brief period at Skagg Family records but did not release a recording. Eric comments that their recording history reflects their growth and readiness for the next step. He said,  "We were where we should have been each time and had good experiences with all." Rounder Records, with its success at making and distributing award winning and chart busting recordings seems like an almost inevitable next step for the Gibson Brothers.

The Gibson Brothers  Band

The Gibson Brothers have become well known and highly popular as a recording band, for their live performances. their impeccable brother harmonies, and the quality of their showmanship, which features a level of banter, respect, competitiveness, and love reaching out to and capturing audiences across the United States and abroad. Their band, which has had changes only at mandolin over the past ten years is a superb aggregation of wonderful soloists who provide the support and cohesiveness which makes the Gibson Brothers' sound unique.  While the brothers signed the contract, we all benefit from their ensemble work.

Mike Barber

Jesse Brock

Clayton Campbell

It can hardly be said that the signing with Rounder Records represents the culmination of the Gibson Brothers career. Who knows how far their career will take them. What we do know for sure is that an association with Rounder Records - large, smart, innovative, and thoughtful - seems like the right place to be in these uncertain times in the recording industry. Their first Rounder Release will be their first recording in a number of years that does not include any original Gibson Brothers songs. The new, as yet unnamed, recording is a tribute to other brother duets from  bluegrass and its precursors, gospel and  even rockabilly. It is a highly anticipated album which should be released at the beginning of 2015.

The Signing

Leigh Gibson

Eric Gibson