The Gibson Brothers

Bona Fide

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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.

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