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Artist Spotlight: The Gibbonses

Album Reviews By June 3, 2017 No Comments

Sometimes hearing about new acts and listening to a song or two isn’t enough for them to get your attention. Sometimes you have to discover them on your own; you could be consciously looking, stumble upon them, or they can run you over. I had heard of The Gibbonses but I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first saw them opening for The Statesboro Revue a few months back. Some nights it’s good to be a klutz.

Brandon and Jackie Gibbons have been getting some off and on buzz since the release of their first full album, “Among The Rubble”, a year ago. Like a lot of Texas acts, The Gibbonses build their following one fan at a time with lots of windshield time in between. It’s blue collar, or to steal a hashtag from their Instagram account, it’s #diyasfuck. Call it whatever, it’s the work ethic that folks around here tend to appreciate.

The Gibbonses describe themselves as a “Southern Soul, Americana, Rhythm & Blues” outfit. That shoe fits well enough. It’s just the two of them, Jackie on lead vocals and a plethora of percussion (more on that in a sec), Brandon on guitar and backing vocals.

They have a fun origin story – the short of it is the two met on a Carnival Cruise ship, Brandon being the Director of Music had just cleaned house and took on newbie showband singer, Jackie Pock. They immediately hit it off musically and one thing lead to another…then marriage…it happens. After a short stint in Seattle, family health issues brought the young couple back to Jackie’s home state of Texas. It was out of those experiences that “Among The Rubble” was born.

The album is deeply personal, full of loneliness, tragedy, struggle, loss, mourning, resilience and hope. It’s not a Happy Birthday kind of record, the song progression forms a cohesive emotional narrative describing a trying journey. The writing is legit and I’d say their transition from cruise ship cover band to songwriting has gone well.

Jackie’s powerful voice, along with a thundering kick drum, drive you through the storm. The vocals are soulful and hypnotic in that way that only the female voice can be. She’s got some Linda Ronstadt/Bonnie Raitt vibes going on and I’d put her voice up against any of the ladies in our scene.

Listen to “Tough As Nails” where she brings her potent dose of soul.

 

“Keep on Keepin’ On” closes the record and is the closest thing to an upper. It’s a good one.

Finally, I’m going to evoke the “you need to see them live to fully appreciate them” catch phrase. Seeing Jackie do her percussion parts one woman band style while still managing to bring those killer vocals is mesmerizing. Meanwhile Brandon is up on there on guitar, all smiles and having fun. You can tell the guy has had to entertain people before.

Here’s a peek at them covering some Turnpike:

The Gibbonses are a hidden gem in plain sight. Get to see them if they are in your neck of the woods. Until then check out “Among The Rubble” and be looking for a follow up album during first half of 2018.

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Album Review: DocFell & Co.- Dust Bowl Heart

Album Reviews, DocFell By March 27, 2017 1 Comment

Valentine’s Day saw the release of Dust Bowl Heart, the sophomore album from the Tahlequah, OK based DocFell & Co. I was introduced to them last year with their debut album Scissor Tail and dug their blend of red dirt, blues, and Texas honky tonk. Doctor John Fell (vocals/acoustic guitar) and Kyle Brown (guitar/mandolin/background vocals) anchor the music troupe that’s always been open-ended as far as who’s in the band at any given time. Like Scissor Tail, this album features a plethora of artists, most of which are Okies local to the scene or folks the duo have met at various gigs across the state. Thomas Trapp (guitar, Turnpike Troubadours) and Caitlin Cary (vocals, Whiskeytown) are two notables along with The Mastersons and Bernice Hembree.

Out of the gate the doc greets us with a haunted, phonographic filtered bit of poetry (a la Scissor Tail) before moving into the spooky up tempo shuffle, “Lonesomeville”, a fictitious town of one that’s so lonely that even the dog and the cat don’t want to stick around.

From there the record settles into Fell’s home grown takes on love and life. Overall, Dust Bowl Heart leans more heavily on Fell & Brown’s red dirt and Americana roots while easing off the rock and pedal steel sounds present on their first album. When those elements do rear their heads on tracks like “The Less I Know” and “Love Sick” they’re very subdued to pave the way for a more old time southern vibe. Throughout the album Fell invokes nostalgic metaphors and couples them with traditional folk rhythms and shuffles. The doc’s twangy voice is cutting but he doesn’t pull wild vocal gymnastics on you, the songs don’t call for it and the overall tone of the album harkens to a Sunday shindig at a rural southern rec hall. At times these guys are a banjo short of being a bluegrass outfit. Tracks like “Broken Heart” and “Dust Bowl Heart” are dance worthy while the home state homage “Oklahoma Lady” and sentimental ballad “Home on the Hill” have an air of gentleness and sincerity.

With both albums, I’ve found DocFell & Co. to be a solid change up when thrown into a Texas heavy playlist. I know the term “red dirt” has been erroneously overloaded to be a catchall for all Texas and Oklahoma music but DocFell & Co. more accurately honors the genre’s roots. Dust Bowl Heart is not big and showy; but, it grows on you over time and worth checking out.

https://www.docfellmusic.com/

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