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Out & About

January 27, 2011

New Gibson Brothers album offers uplifting sound

BRAINARDSVILLE — When the mercury dropped, dropped, dropped to 26 below here, the arctic freeze grabbed hold of the hot-water pipe in Eric Gibson's kitchen.

Tuesday morning, he waited for his brother-in-law Andre Secore to come repair the damage.

And so "Help My Brother" has its applications in the day-to-day; it's also the newest album (and title track) cut by Eric and brother, Leigh, the Gibson Brothers, due out Feb. 22.

The title gives tribute to the early bluegrass brother duos, with covers of tunes by Jim & Jesse ("I'll Love Nobody But You") and the Louvin Brothers ("He Can Be Found").

The album, recorded in Nashville by Compass Records, also highlights the very existence of the Brainardsville duo, for not many brother pairs sing and play bluegrass today.

"We're trying to add something fresh," Eric said, "a little twist to the brother duet."

'TALK TO ME'

Coming off a stellar year that included five nominations and two awards — Song of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year — from the International Bluegrass Association for their most recent album and its title track, "Ring the Bell," the Gibsons are reaping the rewards of many years of hard work and their growing recognition in the bluegrass world. Lending voices to "Help My Brother" are Ricky Skaggs ("Singing as We Rise") and, on "Talk to Me," Claire Lynch, the Bluegrass Association's Female Vocalist of the Year.

The Gibsons had asked her well before she won that award to contribute to the album.

"We've loved her singing for a long time," Eric said.

Alison Brown, who with husband, Garry, owns Compass Records, gives texture to "Talk to Me" on her all-wood banjo.

"I wanted something a little bit different," said Eric, who relinquished the banjo role to her for that number. "You want to have different flavors as the songs (on the album) go along, different tones and moods."

That song, Eric said, is one Leigh had written then forgotten. It turned up on a CD with others the Gibsons had played, just jamming about a decade ago with friend and mentor Dick Decosse.

"It's a departure from the rest of the record," Eric said, "not even close to bluegrass."

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