News Column

Eight is enough

August 18, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 18--PLATTSBURGH -- Eric Gibson is philosophical: Whatever happens, happens at this year's International Bluegrass Music Awards.

But the Gibson Brothers, Eric and Leigh and band members -- Mike Barber, Clayton Campbell and Jesse Brock -- have eight chances, the most of any band, to score a win or more on Sept. 26.

The ensemble is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group, Album of the Year ("They Called It Music"), Song of the Year (title track) and Gospel Recorded Event ("Home on the River").

Eric racked up two nominations as co-songwriter with Joe Newberry for Song of the Year and another nomination in the Bluegrass Songwriter category.

Brock has a second shot at Mandolin Player of the Year.

'TAKES SOME TIME'

At last year's ceremony at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, the Gibson Brothers won awards for Entertainer of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year ("Singing As We Rise").

"It doesn't mean we are going to win any of them," Eric said. "We thought we had a really strong collection of songs.

"We typically take longer than some bands to put out a record -- we don't put out an album every year. It takes some time to gather what we think is strong material.

"We thought we had it. We were also trying to be very focused about our selection of that material. We were really trying to find songs that really fit our brother-duet harmony."

STAMP ON HARMONY

At the time, they dubbed it a harmony-drenched album.

"We really wanted to put our stamp on harmony," Eric said. "I think we've done that in the past, but it seemed like every song we looked at, we thought about harmony first.

"I wrote or co-wrote six of the songs, half of the album. My co-writes were mostly with my brother."

They also covered a Mark Knopfler song, "Daddy's Gone to Knoxville" and one of Roy Hurd's, "I Will Always Cross Your Mind."

"He was happy about that. I love Roy."

'EXHAUSTED'

Last December, the band recorded their 11th album, nonstop, at Compass Sound Studios. Ben Surratt was tapped as sound engineer again.

"We were exhausted," Eric said. "We always are. We go down and blast through it.

"A lot of bands will record a few songs and then get away from it and come back and record some more. We've never done it that way.

"We always go in, and we lay it all out there. And, you're so close to it after making a record -- you think it's good, but you're not sure because you're so tired, and you've heard the playback so many times.

"But when we got a little bit away from it and started listening to the mixes, then we thought we had something pretty special."

"They Called It Music" sales are steady.

"It's done well. The first week out, it was No. 4 on the Billboard Chart for sales. It's been No. 1 on several airplay charts. It's gotten a lot of airplay."

The Gibsons will perform at the awards show at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C.

In the interim, the band's recent appearances included Champlain Days and "Ronnie Reno's Old Time Music Festival" on RFD-TV.

"We've had a busy summer, a busy year," Eric said. "Last year, we did 90 gigs, and we're probably doing 80 this year, between 80 and 90.

"As a band, we headlined at the Ryman on the Fourth of July. That was a highlight this year."

Email Robin Caudell:rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

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