The Gibson Brothers don’t hail from the bluegrass country of Kentucky or Tennessee. No, they’re North Country boys, upstate New Yorkers.
So you might not think they’d have much of a chance to get recognized by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Wrong. This year guitarist Leigh Gibson, banjoman Eric Gibson and their band earned seven nominations from the IBMA – Entertainer of the Year; Vocal Group of the Year; Album of the Year for “Help My Brother”; Song of the Year for “Help My Brother”; Song of the Year for “Walkin’ West to Memphis”; Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “He Can Be Found”; and Male Vocalist of the Year – Leigh Gibson. Wow!
These accolades say one thing clearly – the Gibson Brothers are simply among the best bluegrass players, songwriters and performers on the planet!
And they’re from right around here in upstate New York.
Well, the IBMA Awards show took place at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium last month, and guess what? The Gibson Brothers took home two of the top trophies – Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year.
That’s right folks, they are the premier act with the No. 1 album in the bluegrass world, and the crowd that packed Lillian’s last week for the band’s homecoming concert knew it all along because they’ve supported the band through thick and thin.
People came to the show from as far away as Rochester and Syracuse. Someone even drove up all the way from southern New Jersey to hear this performance. That’s saying a lot about both the Gibson Brothers and their fans.
What about the music?
Well, from the very first notes, Lillian’s was transformed into a Nashville nightspot complete with toe-tapping rhythms and back-porch bluegrass improvisations by the Gibson Brothers. Leigh and Eric Gibson – as well as fiddler Clayton Campbell, mandolinist Joe Walsh and doghouse bassist Mike Barber – were all having loads of fun on stage and creating plenty of smiles in the audience all along the way.
It was a night to remember and, thanks to promoter Matt McCabe, a homecoming for fans and the band alike.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk