Gibson Brothers Latest a Throwback--Not for Everyone

The Gibson Brothers

Help My Brother

Compass 4945

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Eric (banjo, vocals) and Leigh Gibson (guitar, vocals) have won a few International Bluegrass Music Awards and there’s little denying their talent, especially when they team with the rest of the band: Mike Barber (upright bass), Clayton Campbell (fiddle), and Joe Walsh (mandolin). Help My Brother lives up to its title in that the album’s dozen tracks are mostly upbeat and wholesome. There are sweet love songs, some mountain gospel, and lots of homage to live below the Mason-Dixon Line. Fans of bluegrass in the high lonesome style pioneered by Bill Monroe will like this album quite a lot. Especially stellar are Campbell’s fiddle breakouts.

I did, however, find some of the songs crossing the line between wholesome and trite. Verse such as “He can be found in a mother’s smile/He can be founding the eyes of a child” are from the June/spoon/moon school of writing and don’t rank very high on the sophistication scale. For the most part, though, how well you enjoy this album will depend upon where you fall on traditional bluegrass versus “newgrass” spectrum. As one who has been spoiled by rising lights such as Railroad Earth and Crooked Still, I found my attention drifting. I begrudge no one who likes this release, but it’s just too wholesome and too yesterday for my taste.

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