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|The Gibson Brothers||Primary Artist, Primary Artist|
|Tom T. Hall||Guest Appearance|
|Eric Gibson||Banjo, Rhythm Guitar, Vocal Harmony|
|Leigh Gibson||Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Vocal Harmony|
|Mike Barber||Guitar, Upright Bass|
Posted October 1, 2010
About seven years ago, Eric and Leigh Gibson were telling me about their brand of bluegrass which emphasized the old theory that "less is more." They described it as bluegrass with control in which the instruments don't crowd the singer or other instruments. In other words, they believed in letting their music breathe. At the time, the Gibson Brothers weren't including a fiddle and mandolin in their lineup either. Leigh played guitar, and Eric picked banjo. In 1994, they released their first album on the Big Elm label, then they signed with the Hay Holler label. After winning the 1998 IBMA Emerging Artist Award, the group contracted with Ceili Records. Now, the two brothers who were raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York have joined the roster of one of bluegrass' most renown labels, Sugar Hill. Mike Barber has reunited with the brothers on upright bass. Their band sound is fuller with the likes of Marc MacClashan picking mandolin, and Jason Carter or Luke Bulla playing fiddle on this album. Sam Zucchini and Jeff Taylor also add bodhran and accordion, respectively, to one song apiece. Erin Gibson's singing on "Beautiful Brown Eyes" and "The Lighthouse" is a welcome treat. The Gibsons still emphasize two-part brother harmony, and it might be nice on future releases to hear more trios from the band, with little sis singing lead or harmony. The brothers' repertoire has always been characterized by strong original material, and this project offers nine songs written or co-written by one or both of the Gibsons. Standouts include those that tell hard-hitting stories (Railroad Line, Vern's Guitar, Where Nobody Knows My Name) or paint vivid portraits of people (Arleigh, Ragged Man, Norma). Also, their newgrassy "That Bluegrass Music" is a testament to their love for the genre. This album screams when "Shucking the Corn" spins, and Tom T. Hall's "Don't Forget the Coffee, Billy Joe" (complete with Tom T.'s cameo line "now pay attention, son") seems a tongue-in-cheek statement regarding misplaced priorities in a troubled world. The Gibson Brothers now offer a fuller and more visceral brand of bluegrass than they did a decade ago. Bona Fide, is a top-notch album, and as the title claims, the Gibson Brothers' bluegrass is sincere, authentic and genuine. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.