Help My Brotherby The Gibson Brothers
The Gibson Brothers are a sly pair. They present themselves pretty much as a straight-ahead traditional bluegrass group, but in fact they're far from it. Unlike the newgrass bands of the 1960s and 1970s, they don't go in for Eric Clapton or Bob Dylan covers; instead they expand their stylistic boundaries more subtly and insistently. Help My Brother consists mostly of original songs (a departure from the bluegrass norm in and of itself), and the group gently pushes the borders of bluegrass tradition mainly by means of unusually complex chord changes, unusual lyrical concerns (note in particular the wry "Frozen in Time," which features the lines "I'm a dinosaur/And I feel a chill"), and understated rhythmic innovations (like the gentle swing feel on the nicely chugging "Walkin' West to Memphis"). There are a few minor missteps on this album: the falsetto lead is a bit too dramatic on "Dixie," and "He Can Be Found" is a bit on the moist and mawkish side, even by bluegrass gospel standards. But most of the program is excellent, including another example of the band's boundary-pushing tendencies: the distinctly country-flavored "Talk to Me," which features a melody that explicitly evokes Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" and an excellent cameo appearance by Claire Lynch.
- Release Date:
- Compass Records
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