Honeysuckle Roads visited the annual D.C. Bluegrass Festival, and arrived to see the headliners of the night, The Gibson Brothers! Comprised of brothers Leigh (vocals, guitar) and Eric Gibson (vocals, banjo, guitar), their band includes Jesse Brock on mandolin, Clayton Campbell on fiddle, and Mike Barber on upright bass; all very talented musicians in their own right.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in rural Upstate New York on the border with Canada, the Gibson Brothers reflect on their upbringing and the changes in country life in songs like “Farm of Yesterday.” While not raised in the South, the brothers are certainly country and have identified with American country music since childhood. As Leigh mentioned, activities and entertainment of city life were scarce in their hometown, so the brothers picked up music, their shared passion in life.
The wistful “Farm of Yesterday”
The Gibsons paid homage to other brother act predecessors with songs such as “Satan’s Jeweled Crown” recorded by the Louvin Brothers and “Bye Bye Love,” the song that put the Everly Brothers on the Billboard charts. In addition to playing their song, the Gibsons took a page out of the Everly Brothers’ book in their between-set ribbing. Leigh played the role of the antagonist, taunting Eric just as Don taunted Phil. Later on Leigh revealed his unforgiving teasing really was a matter of sibling rivalry and a bit of jealousy, especially of Eric’s luxuriant hair and his “Vidal Sassoon.” Together they kept the audience laughing and interested in between sets throughout the night.
A rollicking “Bye Bye Love”
In addition to traditional bluegrass and Americana for which they are most known, like the Everlys the Gibsons also have some rockabilly-influenced tunes, including the rousing “Highway,” that can get a dance floor rocking.
The upbeat “Highway”
On a more poignant note is “My Quiet Mind,” one of the most beautifully mournful tributes to lost love I have heard in a long time:
“My Quiet Mind”
From beginning to end, the Gibson Brothers and their band were consummate musicians and entertainers. The sound at the venue, the Presidential Theatre at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel, had excellent acoustics and I could hear each instrument clearly and distinctly. The Brothers played a multifaceted mixture of songs from their own material to traditional bluegrass, rockabilly, and ballads that ran the gamut of emotional expression. I highly reccomend seeing them live!
If you enjoyed “My Quiet Mind” and “Highway,” they feature on their new album “In the Ground.” For more information on the Gibson Brothers, check out their website.