Bona Fide

Bona Fide

4.0 1
by The Gibson Brothers
     
 

After an ill-fated stab at mainstream country, the Gibson Brothers' return to the bluegrass fold on Bona Fide -- an all-acoustic outing spotlighting Eric Gibson's banjo and Marc MacGlashan's mandolin -- could not have been more eloquent. Tender sentiments, lilting melodies, and a gentle, bracing rhythmic drive permeate both the original songs by Eric and Leigh…  See more details below

Overview

After an ill-fated stab at mainstream country, the Gibson Brothers' return to the bluegrass fold on Bona Fide -- an all-acoustic outing spotlighting Eric Gibson's banjo and Marc MacGlashan's mandolin -- could not have been more eloquent. Tender sentiments, lilting melodies, and a gentle, bracing rhythmic drive permeate both the original songs by Eric and Leigh Gibson and a choice batch of covers, ranging from the traditional breakup lament "Beautiful Brown Eyes" to Tom T. Hall's sepia-toned slice of old Americana, "Don't Forget the Coffee, Billy Joe" (with a cameo by Tom T. himself). The brothers, who write both separately and together, evince an eye for the telling detail. This is manifest in the sharp distinctions of the brisk "Ragged Man," which heralds the burgeoning class warfare between brothers whose lives are headed for different strata; this track also features one of four memorable guest shots by the Del McCoury Band's estimable fiddler Jason Carter. Equally notable is the somber "Railroad Line," a poignant depiction of a community and a way of life rent asunder by the decline of the steel rail, with the mournful strains of Jeff Taylor's lonely accordion solos magnifying the enduring sorrow left behind. The brothers harmonize beautifully on the marchlike strains of "Arleigh," a fond reminiscence of their granddad's tireless work ethic, while Eric shows off some heartfelt crooning in "Vern's Guitar," a quiet, folk-styled tale of a widow's prized heirloom. Sister Erin Gibson lends her pure, keening voice, so reminiscent of Iris DeMent's, to the lead vocal and group harmony of the stately inspirational album closer, "The Lighthouse," a perfect sign-off to an album as soulful as it is masterfully executed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Once upon a time, one could be assured that bluegrass bands, wherever they happened to be playing to make a buck or two, originated from the South. It was Southern music, after all, but thanks to radio and records, this regional music traveled to such odd places as upstate New York. Eric and Leigh Gibson grew up listening to first and second-generation bluegrass, so it only made sense that when they formed a band, they'd emulate their heroes. Together with mandolinist Marc MacGlashan and bassist Mike Barber, The Gibson Brothers have cut a disc of original material informed by tradition. In fact, when listening to a cut like "Where Nobody Knows My Name" it's easy to imagine that this band is from the South. First, their brother harmony reaches back to the Delmores and Monroes, and next, both singers fill their lead vocals with country accents. A down-home bluegrass quality also pervades pieces like "Ragged Man" and "Open Road," giving these songs lots of bounce and pizzazz. The arrangements of guitar, banjo, fiddle, and bass are fairly straightforward and the instrumental interplay lively. Most of these pieces only last two or three minutes, though, so the emphasis is placed on the vocals and the songs themselves, which is just fine. The album ends with a nicely handled guest vocal by sister Erin Gibson on "The Lighthouse," and she is superbly supported by her big brothers. Bona Fide will please old fans, bluegrass fanatics, and anyone who enjoys good singing.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/11/2003
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891396521
catalogNumber:
3965
Rank:
18003

Tracks

  1. The Open Raod
  2. Arleigh
  3. Ragged Man
  4. Railroad Line
  5. The Bluegrass Music
  6. Vern's Guitar
  7. Where Nobody Knows My Name
  8. Shucking The Corn
  9. Don't Forget The Coffee, Billy Joe
  10. Whisper In My Ear
  11. Norma
  12. Beautiful Brown Eyes
  13. The Lighthouse

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