Bluegrass recording artists Leigh and Eric Gibson

Leigh and Eric Gibson in a publicity shot for their new single, “What A Difference A Day Makes,” which they released and is getting airplay nationwide. Their forthcoming album, “Darkest Hour,” will be released in October on their label, Bull Run Records.

PAUL SMITHS — If it’s been a spell since you’ve heard the Gibson Brothers live, you’ve got three chances coming up and it will only cost you, maybe, a tank of gas.

You can catch Eric and Leigh Gibson, Mike Barber (bass), Eric O’Hara (Dobro) and a rotating cast of mandolin players on Sunday, 2 p.m., at Music over the Marsh hosted by the Paul Smith’s VIC.  Admission is $50 per person, and parking is limited.

Next up, they will make an appearance Sept. 2, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the I Love BBQ & Music Festival at the North Elba Show Grounds in Lake Placid.

The event is a benefit for the Shipman Youth Center of Lake Placid. Entry until 5 p.m. is $6 adults and children under 10, free. From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the charge is $15 for adults and children under 10 free.

If you still can’t get it together or you’re hosting in-laws and such, well bring them along Sept. 17 to the Clinton County Fairgrounds, where the North Country’s most famous bluegrass superstars will perform at a Food Truck Festival with proceeds going to the North Country Honor Flight.

AROUND A LITTLE BIT

“After not playing in the area very much for a while, it seems we are going to be around a little bit,” Eric said.

“There was a time where we were off the road like everybody else,” Leigh said.

“Last year was an interesting year because we had so many dates that were rescheduled dates. The calendar was a little different than it normally would be. To be honest, not quite as full. We’re going back toward a more normal year this year. You still see as an industry, you see fewer people at fewer shows than you are accustomed to, but we’re playing, performing and creating that’s for sure.”

During the fluctuations of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the North Country’s most famous bluegrass sons wrote a lot of songs.

The celebrated duo were named back-to-back Entertainers of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and are on Rounder Records.

PANDEMIC-ERA RECORD

“We actually have an album coming out that was recorded, the first part of it, right when the pandemic was hitting,” Eric said.

“We were in Nashville, and we came home. We could’ve finished it, but everything was closing down and we said we better get home.”

That was March 2020, and they went back to wrap up the disc in 2021 in Nashville.

“Jerry Douglas produced it,” Eric said.

“He’s a Dobro master and a great producer guy. We have an album coming out in October. We have a new single that just came out. It’s called ‘What A Difference A Day Makes.’ Leigh wrote it.”

“I remember starting it, writing it, and showing it to Eric and some of the other guys in the band and they all liked it,” Leigh said.

“It’s one of those sad bluegrass songs.”

“Sad, but it sounds happy,” Eric said.

The disc, “Darkest Hour,” has about 20 tracks all written by them mostly and a few co-writers including Eric’s son, Kelley.

“Jerry, who is producing the album said, ‘Just send me what you got,’” Eric said.

“So, we sent him all kinds of songs from the last twenty years. It’s very much a singer-songwriter album. We didn’t worry that this will fit this genre or that will fit that genre. We sent him a bunch of our songs. We co-wrote one with Bob DiPiero. He’s written a lot of great songs over the years. Leigh and I co-wrote some of the songs. Pat McLaughlin. He wrote a lot with John Prine. He’s a really good writer. Several, I wrote on my own, and several, Leigh wrote on his own.”

A LOT OF EMOTION

Last month, the band toured Gray Fox Bluegrass Festival on the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum’s 19th Annual Romp in Owensboro, Kentucky, and Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in Tunbridge, Vt.

“We’ve been touring,” Eric said.

“It feels great. People are excited. There was a lot of emotion when we first started doing it.”

The audiences were wary and asking themselves should they be there? Should they not be there?

“Then after the music got going, they kind of lost themselves in the music,” Eric said.

“You saw emotion. It was like ‘Oh, the world is running again.’ We were grateful for every note there for awhile.”

“We’re back to being petty again,” Leigh said.

“We’re back to being our old selves, worrying about the same stupid things,” Eric said.

“For awhile, we didn’t complain at all.”

‘SOMETHING TO FEED OFF OF’

The Gibsons did one virtual show.

“That’s not, for me, a very comfortable way to do things,” Leigh said.

“I always feel like I’m a teenage girl looking at myself in the mirror. Very self-conscious, you know, like teenagers stare at themselves. That’s what I feel like in those. It’s not ideal. There are people watching out there, but there’s not that energy from the people that are in the same room, you know. I think it would be better if we could figure out how to do it where you don’t know the cameras are watching you, and you can just focus on the energy you have with the people you are performing with and you don’t miss anything else. I always felt like we were missing the important part of doing a show, having folks there. Even before they react, you feel the energy. There’s a vibe.”

“It’s something to feed off of,” Eric said.

“It really helps with that connection. We all missed that.”

‘WE LOST A LOT OF PEOPLE’

The Gibsons also miss peers who died during the pandemic such as Matt McCabe of Saratoga Guitar.

“We lost a lot of people,” Eric said.

“A lot of fans we had are gone. A lot of farmers, also. A lot of good people.”

“Overall, I wish it hadn’t happened for many reasons,” Eric said.

“Nobody got out of this unscathed. No family I know.”

Email: rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

Twitter@RobinCaudell

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Staff Writer

Robin Caudell was born and raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She has worked at the Press-Republican since 1990

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