The Gibson Brothers
There’s a reason why Ricky Skaggs pulled brothers Eric and Leigh Gibson off the stage at the Ryman two decades ago and offered to produce their debut album. It’s the same thing that led David Ferguson and Grammy-winning producer and Black Keys frontman, Dan Auerbach, to co-write and produce their fourteenth album. The Gibson Brothers are the real deal. They can pick. They can sing. They can write a damn good country song. In their 25-year career, they’ve won about every bluegrass award you can name, released albums on just about every premier Americana label, and had their songs recorded by legends like Del McCoury. It’s a resume anyone in country music would be proud to have. They may not yet be household names but their latest album, Darkest Hour produced by dobro master Jerry Douglas and released in 2023, may change all that.
You know you have something special when you hear Leigh singing with Alison Krauss and you realize his voice is as good as that of anyone in music today. Add on the harmony, and you have something unique, arguably the strongest record the Brothers have made. It showcases how easily they move from “country soul” to high-octane bluegrass with the focus always on the song. “That’s what I love about those guys,” said producer Jerry Douglas. “They are just great songwriters.”
These country artists grew up on a dairy farm in northern New York and have traveled the world in a bluegrass band. That gives them a unique view of life and their place in it. The songs on Darkest Hour are a testament to that. “Jerry wanted to hear everything we’d written,” Eric said. ” We sent him songs: brand-new songs, old songs, stuff on that record 20 years old that we never recorded. We wanted to see what he would do with us as singer-songwriters. We respect him that much. Some of my favorite records are Jerry Douglas produced. He didn’t disappoint.”
The Brothers have been recognized for all of their talents. International Bluegrass Association Awards include Song of the Year in 2010 and 2013, Vocal Group of the Year in 2011 and 2013, Album of the Year in 2011, Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year in 2010 and 2012 with Ricky Skaggs, Songwriter of the Year (Eric Gibson) in 2013, and Entertainer of the Year in 2012 and 2013. They have also won numerous awards from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America, including Vocal Group of the Year in 2015. In that same year, they received honorary doctorates of fine arts from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in upstate New York.
Successful bluegrass groups don’t usually come from the East Coast, and acceptance from the bluegrass establishment is not easily given. That the Gibson Brothers have achieved so much success is testimony to their talent. There WAS a reason why Ricky Skaggs pulled them off the Ryman stage and offered to produce their first album.
Come see what he saw.