Bluegrass Brothers Return to Aberdeen
The best in bluegrass returns to Aberdeen Sunday, Feb. 19, with the Gibson Brothers, 2011 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Vocal Group of the Year.
The Sunday evening show will be at Poplar Knight Spot, located at 114 Knight St. in downtown Aberdeen, two blocks east of U.S. 1.
Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 on the day of the show.
The Gibson Brothers' 10th album, "Help My Brother," is the winner of the 2011 IBMA Album of the Year Award. The album follows the success of the 2009 Compass Records release "Ring the Bell," which took Song of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at the 2010 IBMA awards at the Ryman Auditorium.
That album was also the fifth consecutive Gibson Brothers album to hit the No. 1 spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited radio airplay chart.
Eric and Leigh Gibson grew up on a dairy farm outside of Ellenburg Depot, N.Y., in the shadows of the Adirondack Mountains. It isn't the typical beginning for a bluegrass band, but sometimes things just come together.
"My parents loved music, but they didn't play," says Eric. "My father, I think, always wanted to play, but he worked like mad from the time he was 9 years old. He was a dairy farmer. He'd go to an auction and come back with a fiddle, or they ordered a guitar and a banjo through the Sears Roebuck catalog, so we had instruments around the house but nobody knew how to play them.
"When I was 12 and Leigh was 11, we came home from school, and Dad said, 'There's a guy giving lessons at Dick's Country Store and I'd like one of you to play the banjo and one to play the guitar.'"
Eric chose banjo and Leigh, guitar, and the die was cast. The brothers took lessons on their instruments and began singing at the suggestion of their minister.
"We progressed at the same rate," remembers Eric. "We grew up listening to the same people and seemed to agree about what type of songs we wanted to play and our direction. We never really argued about that. If I like a song, Leigh will like it too."
They caught the bluegrass bug after their teacher introduced them to the music of Flat and Scruggs. But still they never intended to actually make it as musicians.
"I was just as much into baseball, if not more so, than music," Eric says with a laugh. "I either wanted to pitch at Yankee Stadium or play at the Grand Ole Opry, and I've gotten to do one of those. I always had monster dreams. But each year we get more and more serious about music."
By the time they were in their early 20s, the brothers began to answer the calls for them to play shows and festivals.
At the same time, Eric was having problems balancing his career as a schoolteacher with his drive to play music and took a leave of absence from teaching.
"It was hard decision," he says. "You take the safety net out from under you. We couldn't have accomplished what we've done if we hadn't gone into it full bore. To be a good teacher, it has to be your passion, but music is my passion. I always felt pulled by the music. I felt like I had to make a choice."
The Rooster's Wife is a community arts organization committed to bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills.
The doors open at 6 p.m. for this week's show, with the music kicking off at 6:45. Sandwiches from Sweet Feed are available for a light supper.
For more information, visit www.theroosters wife.org or call (910) 585-1614.
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