LIVE: The Gibson Brothers @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 3/27/15


Review by Greg Haymes

There’s something special about the musical bond of brothers…

In recent weeks, Nippertown has been blessed with a concert by Dave & Phil Alvin, as well as Pete & Tony Levin, but it was Leigh & Eric Gibson who thrust that magical sibling vocal harmony into the spotlight with their sparkling concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

The Gibson Brothers grew up on the family farm in upper Clinton County, just this side of the Canadian border, but they’ve got southern bluegrass music in their blood. And they’ve repaid their debt to the bluegrass tradition with their new album, Brotherhood, a tribute to the classic brother bands of yore.

Decked out in matching black suits and ties, the Gibson brothers and their excellent band – longtime bassist Mike Barber, fiddler Clayton Campbell and mandolin master Jesse Brock – romped through the catalogs of so many of the great bluegrass brother teams, including Jim & Jesse McReynolds (“Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes” with Eric handling the lead vocal chores), Bill & Charlie Monroe (the rousing uptempo gospel gem “I Have Found a Way”), Sonny & Bobby Osborne (the rip-snortin’ “How Mountain Girls Can Love”) and George & Leslie York (the show-opening “Long Gone,” with Leigh’s keening lead vocals showcasing the bluesy end of the bluegrass spectrum).

They also highlighted their dazzling harmonies on a pair of vintage hits from Phil & Don Everly – injecting a bit of jaunty swing into “Bye Bye Love” and some heartache into “Cryin’ in the Rain.”

The band’s original songs were every bit as solid as the blasts from the past, with Eric’s nostalgic, autobiographical “The Farm of Yesterday” and “Frozen in Time,” as well as the brothers’ gospel co-write “I Found a Church Today” standing out as particular highlights of the evening’s two 50-minute sets.

And while the spotlight was clearly on the tight-knit vocal harmonies, the band proved that they’re in possession of some mighty serious instrumental chops as well, with the Bill Monroe standard “Big Mon,” the fierce fiddlin’ first-set closer “Back Up and Push” and their encore of the traditional “Sally Goodin.”

Yeah, seems like there ain’t nothin’ these guys can’t do…

UPCOMING: The Gibson Brothers are scheduled to play two shows at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival at the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill on the fest’s opening day, Thursday, July 16.

Long Gone
Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes
The Sweetest Gift
Farm of Yesterday
Bye Bye Love
Big Mon (instrumental)
Something Comin’ to Me
Frozen in Time ???
I Have Found the Way
Long Time Gone
Back Up and Push
Walkin’ West to Memphis
Love Was the Last Thing on My Mind
Safe Passage
??? (instrumental)
I Found a Church Today
Crying in the Rain
How Mountain Girls Can Love
They Called It Music
The Wishing Well
Blue Yodel No. 3
Sally Goodin (instrumental)
This Cold December Day

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