The Gibson Brothers
Eric and Leigh Gibson were raised on a family farm in Ellenburg Depot, near the Canadian border of northeastern New York. The brothers, who have been playing and singing together since 1983, grew up listening to classic country artists such as Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, the Louvin Brothers, Webb Pierce, Jimmie Rodgers, Carl Smith, and Hank Williams; as well as first generation masters of bluegrass such as Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Jim & Jesse, Reno & Smiley, and the Stanley Brothers. Second generation stars such as Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, and Emmylou Harris were also major influences.
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Under the tutelage of renowned North Country resophonic guitarist Junior Barber, Eric and Leigh formed a bluegrass band in the early nineties, in which Eric played the banjo and Leigh, the guitar. Junior's son, Mike Barber, rounded out the band on upright bass. The Gibson Brothers Band put a distinctive spin on both their well-crafted originals and well-chosen repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs.
In 1995, an International Bluegrass Music Association showcase in Owensboro, Kentucky introduced the band to an audience outside the Northeast. That showcase led to a recording deal with Hay Holler Records and appearances at such notable venues as the Ryman Auditorium and major bluegrass festivals across North America. Their debut Hay Holler release, Long Forgotten Dream (1996), reached Bluegrass Unlimited's singles and album charts, staying several months on each. The title track reached #10 on BU's Top Thirty Survey. The follow-up, Spread Your Wings was equally successful, with "Picture in the Moonlight" enjoying an eleven month stay on the singles chart, peaking at #11. 1998's Another Night of Waiting also met with critical acclaim and strong airplay, with the album residing on Bluegrass Unlimited's Top Fifteen Survey for several months and "She Paints a Picture" reaching #4 on the BU singles chart.
The high point of the success of the Gibsons' bluegrass band was 1998, when they were honored by both the IBMA and the Bluegrass Now Fan's Choice Awards as the Emerging Artist of the Year. At the Fan's Choice Awards, the Gibsons caught the ear of Ricky Skaggs, who proceeded to sign them to his newly-formed Ceili Music label. Eric and Leigh recently fulfilled a long-time dream by working with Ricky on a traditional country album, to be released soon. Ricky describes the album as " kind of a Buck Owens meets the Everly Brothers with kind of a little Ricky Skaggs thrown in."
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