From the opening bars of the first tune, this album had me hooked. With Bona Fide, the Gibson Brothers have brought out their strongest recording to date. These two brothers and their band combine a collection of superbly written original tunes with a few familiar songs we've heard before to bring out what could be this year's bluegrass album of the year.
The Gibson Brothers consist of Eric and Leigh Gibson on banjo and guitar respectively, Mike Barber on bass, and Marc McGlashan on mandolin. Joining them on this recording are fiddlers Jason Carter and Luke Bulla (you don't find better young fiddlers than these two), Jeff Taylor on accordion, and a brief backup vocal from the legendary Tom T. Hall, who also wrote the liner notes.
The album's title is pulled from the chorus of the first song, The Open Road. This is a song about either a mighty fine automobile or a mighty fine woman. Or maybe both. Its toe-tapping ambiguity has already made this song a staple in the song circles in my living room. The Ragged Man tells the tale of two brothers whose lives have moved them in opposite directions, augmented by the bluesy fiddle of Carter (who plays with the Del McCoury Band). Longtime Gibson Brothers will be pleased to hear their first banjo instrumental recording on this release, an outstanding take on the Scruggs classic, Shucking the Corn. Perhaps the most moving song on the album is Vern's Guitar, a story of a vintage guitar that outlived its owner.
The tunes are fresh and superbly crafted, played flawlessly and arranged perfectly. As Tom T. Hall says in the liner notes, "My, but don't we love to hear brothers singing together."
Give these boys a listen. They're bona fide.
Page design by David N. Pyles