The Gibson Brothers bluegrass band performs Saturday, Aug. 17 during Champlain Day festivities at the Champlain town highway garage. They were recently nominated for eight International Bluegrass Music Association awards. From left are Clayton Campbell, Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, Mike Barber and Jesse Brock.
Ellenburg Depot natives Eric and Leigh Gibson and their bluegrass band — The Gibson Brothers — topped the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award nominations this year with eight, IBMA officials announced Aug. 14 at their Nashville headquarters.
They were followed by Balsam Range with seven nominations, and The Boxcars, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Russell Moore & IIIrd Time Out with six nominations each.
The Gibson Brothers are the 2012 IBMA Entertainers of the Year and walked away with the 2012 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “Singing As We Rise,” recorded with Ricky Skaggs and written by Joe Newberry. This is the latest string of successes for the northern New York band, which debuted on the IBMA scene in 1998 as Emerging Artists of the Year and garnered other awards, such as Song of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year in 2010 for “Ring the Bell,” Vocal Group of the Year in 2011, and Album of the Year in 2011 for “Help My Brother.”
This year, they made the IBMA press release headlines, which were picked up by all the major country and bluegrass music news sources.
“I’m completely honored and overwhelmed,” Eric Gibson said between sets at the Aug. 17 Champlain Day concert. “I never dreamed that we’d lead the pack. I didn’t know that was true until I saw CMT.com and Billboard.com.”
The Saturday night event — two hours of free music — was homecoming of sorts for the band, as many friends and family traveled to Champlain to see their performance. You couldn’t throw a biscuit without hitting someone with a Gibson Brothers ball cap or T-shirt. And, true to their Entertainer of the Year status, they gave as spirited a performance in the Champlain town highway garage as they did July 4 on the Ryman Auditorium stage in Nashville.
The eight IBMA nominations were: Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year (“They Called It Music”), Song of the Year (“They Called It Music”) and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (“Home on the River”). The newest band member, Jesse Brock, earned a nomination for Mandolin Player of the Year, which he won in 2009. And Eric Gibson received two nominations, as songwriter for Song of the Year “They Called It Music” (along with co-writer Joe Newberry) and in the Bluegrass Songwriter category.
“The songwriter of the year surprised me,” Eric said. “I thought we had a pretty good year and we’d come away from a few nominations, but I didn’t think in so many categories. And I thought maybe we’d have a chance to be nominated again as Entertainers (of the Year) seeing as we won it last year. I don’t think we did anything to hurt our chances this year ... It’s good for the band just to be nominated. Everybody always says that, but it’s true. I think promoters look at that, look at the nominations as they plan for next year. I think it means we’re in pretty good shape.”
The Gibson Brothers band includes Eric Gibson, of Brainardsville; Leigh Gibson, of Schenectady; Mike Barber (upright bass), of Jericho; Clayton Campbell (fiddle), of Nashville; and Jesse Brock (mandolin), of Bowling Green, Ky. They will next appear in the Adirondack region on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the second annual Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds in Morrisonville.
Also nominated for Entertainer of the Year were Balsam Range, Blue Highway, Dailey & Vincent and The Del McCoury Band.
Also nominated for Vocal Group of the Year were Balsam Range, Blue Highway, Dailey & Vincent and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.
Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the IBMA, the trade association for the bluegrass music industry. Results of the balloting will be revealed at the IBMA Awards on Thursday, Sept. 26, hosted by the Steep Canyon Rangers. The Awards Show is the centerpiece of World of Bluegrass Week, to be held Sept. 24-28 in Raleigh, N.C.
The IBMA Awards Show will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction) and syndicated to more than 300 U.S. markets and 14 foreign networks, thanks to the sponsorship of John Pearse Strings, Compass Records, Deering Banjos, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, BluegrassToday.com and Music City Roots. Program directors and station managers may sign up to be affiliates online at www.ibma.org.