PLATTSBURGH — When the Gibson Brothers step onstage at the first-ever Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival today, the band will be glowing from winning the Entertainer of the Year award in Nashville.
The local group took home two of the top honors at the 23rd-annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Thursday night.
Eric and Leigh Gibson and bandmates Mike Barber, Clayton Campbell and Joe Walsh also won Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “Singing As We Rise,” a track recorded with Ricky Skaggs (mandolin and vocals) on the Gibsons’ “Help My Brother” album, the band’s 10th release.
Last year was charmed for the Gibson Brothers, who won the Bluegrass Music Awards Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year.
To turn right around and win the top prize in the bluegrass industry is …
“We didn’t sleep very much,” Eric said. “No use in trying after a night like that. We’re heading home to play the Bluegrass Festival.”
Mike was at the wheel and driving north through Kentucky on Friday morning.
The band arrived in Nashville Wednesday night and listened to music at the convention. Thursday, they were at the Ryman Auditorium to do an 8 a.m. spot with a local news station.
“It was a long day yesterday,” Eric said.
After the band’s 9 a.m. sound check, Eric rehearsed with Steve Martin for a tribute to Earl Scruggs.
“We had 35 banjo players to rehearse the songs together in the early afternoon,” he said.
The Gibson Brothers regrouped to perform a live show for the Washington, D.C.-based WAMU.
Then, the band suited up and went to the Ryman.
“We performed a new song, one that I wrote, ‘They Called It Music,’" Eric said. "We represented ourselves very well. We got a good response.”
This year, the band racked up a quartet of Bluegrass Music Association award nominations: Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year.
For Entertainer of the Year, the competing acts were Dailey & Vincent, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers and Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.
“We’re still numb,” Eric said of winning the biggest prize of the night. “It’s one of those things, you wake up the next morning and say, did that really happen? We had some very stiff competition. We didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance. It’s one of the surprises of my life, and I think the whole band feels that way.”
At the Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival, each Gibson Brothers band member will hold a workshop on the instrument they play at 7 tonight.
“As special treat, Kelley, Eric Gibson’s son, 16, will be assisting his father on mandolin and guitar,” wrote Justin Voss, who with his brother, Stuart, assist with the Bluegrass for the Next Generation Project.
“Members of the community are encouraged to bring their instruments to the festival and learn from the award-winning band. Q & A is encouraged.”
When Voss sent the email Monday, the Gibson Brothers’ International Bluegrass Music Award wins were a possibility. Now, it’s reality.
While putting the pedal to the metal in the Bluegrass State, the Gibsons Brothers rehashed their historic Ryman moment.
“It’s a big overload for all of us,” Eric said. “We’re just processing just what happened.”
Fourteen years ago, the Gibson Brothers won the Bluegrass Awards Emerging of the Artist of the Year award.
Now, there’s no question: The former Ellenburg Depot dairy-farm boys and extremely talented bandmates have arrived.
Email Robin Caudell:
firstname.lastname@example.orgSEE THEM HERE WHAT: Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival. WHEN: Today through Sunday. WHERE: Clinton County Fairgrounds, 84 Fairgrounds Road, Morrisonville. ADMISSION: Children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by a parent. Day ticket prices: $20 Today, $25 Saturday, and free Sunday. Discount tickets $10 each for students with IDs. Day-ticket holders must be off fairgrounds by midnight each night (price does not include camping). Camping is an additional $25 per night. The gates open at 8 a.m. today with camping on a first-come, first-serve basis. Generators are welcome. Dogs are welcome with appropriate shot papers. All dogs must be on a leash and at owner's camping site only. CONTACT: For questions, call 561-7998.