Earl - 3/29/2012

"I want to learn SONGS," I complained to my banjo instructor, Eric O'Hara. I was twelve years old and impatient. I could find melody notes to simple songs by ear on the banjo, but he insisted I learn the rolls in my Earl Scruggs instructional book. I didn't know much about this Earl Scruggs and wasn't so sure I needed to. I changed my tune when I listened to the Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall record Eric gave me. It changed my life as well. I wish I had a dollar for every time I listened to "Flint Hill Special." His playing and the audience response sent a chill up my spine. I dedicated myself to learning those rolls. I tried to soak everything up about him that I could, the timing, the taste, the tone. Banjo players all try to do that. We all fall short. I don't know another musician whose style has influenced so many. He is the template. He was not the first to put on picks and play in a three-finger style, but I believe he was the first to refine it and make it sound like pure magic. There is nothing tentative about even his earliest recordings. How does a young man pick a direction like that and single-mindedly forge ahead with his own style? I don't believe things like this just happen; I believe it is further evidence of God.

I'll never forget meeting Earl Scruggs in 1995. I acted like a fool falling over myself in the presence of my hero. He was in the lobby of a hotel in Owensboro, KY, just trying to mind his own business. I ran up to him like a blue-tick hound all starry-eyed. I don't know if my tongue was out or not. "I'm going to do something I've always wanted to do my whole life!" Earl took this as a warning and took a step back from the over-eager farm boy. His wife, Louise, took a step forward. "No, I just want to shake your hand," I explained. Real smooth. It was enough for me though. I got to meet Earl Scruggs and shake his hand, the right hand that changed music forever. He left this world last night at the age of 88. I feel thankful that I was able to live in the Age of Earl.


Keep Moving - 3/9/2012

I have to be honest.  I didn't pick up an instrument for close to a month dealing with Dad's life coming to a close and then trying to hold it together with him gone.  Leigh didn't either.  I thought surely our shows would suffer when we got back in the saddle, but, luckily for us, Mike, Joe and Clayton picked up the slack for us.  They obviously had been playing a lot, and they carried us until we caught up.  Diving back into our work has been the best thing we could do.  We were gone something like twenty-five days out of thirty.  In addition to the shows, we filled our time with so much work that we hardly had time to think.  We played a bunch of shows in the Southeast and Midwest as well as the SPBGMA awards in Nashville where we picked up honors for Album of the Year, Songwriters of the Year, and Song of the Year.  We recorded a performance/interview with Kyle Cantrell for Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction to be aired shortly, and did radio with Eddie Stubbs and Bill Cody at WSM.  We also wrote a song with Shawn Camp, easily one of our favorite Nashville Cats.  The people were warm everywhere we went and we really felt like we were on a roll.  Every time I found myself reaching for the phone to call Dad, I tried to busy myself with exercise or music.  Just keep moving.

After a run of ten days or so, we came home for a few.  All the movement came to a stop as I looked up at the North Country sky in the middle of the night, full of stars and free of any sort of city haze.  I could sense Dad all around me and my heart went back to feeling like a grapefruit in my chest.  What do you do?  He's our dad.  He's worth grieving over and I can't run from it.  When I love, it's all in.  I found myself smelling a hat of his to try to catch his scent, but it was gone.  I drove by the farm and I swear I could see us playing ball again.  I purposely try to dream about him, but he hasn't made an appearance yet.  He will.  I feel like I belong to this new club.  I keep running across other members who give me knowing looks and words of encouragement.  They all tell me the same thing: you don't get over it.  Eventually, the sting goes away, but you don't get over it.  It is getting easier.  We went out on the road for another ten days and pushed it just as hard.  When I returned home, my heart wasn't as heavy.  Thank God for a strong family and for giving me an outlet I can pour myself into.  What would I do without music?


I'll Never Forget It - 1/30/2012

I got through the song the night before in Ithaca with less trouble than I imagined I would. Leading up to and immediately following Dad's death, I told myself I'd never sing "Farm of Yesterday" again. How could I? I cried when I wrote it. It tore my heart out to write it and I've found myself getting choked up many times on stage, remembering. I fought back emotions in places I knew my father would never see, like Ireland or California. I thought about it all day on Friday, knowing it was one of our most popular songs, knowing that some diehard fans would be waiting to see if we'd do it or not, and wondering if Leigh would want to do it. Leigh has been licking his wounds as well. Leigh and I have been through so much together, but the past few weeks was like nothing we'd been through before. I thought our bond was tight before. It was nothing like it is now. I hadn't even brought up the song to him, but towards the end of our last set at La Tourelle Resort, I asked, "What about 'Farm of Yesterday.'" He nodded and put a capo on his guitar. The band played it beautifully and we got through it. I steeled myself to a degree and we got a beautiful response. I had made up my mind that I wouldn't quit paying tribute to him. We gave him his flowers while he was living and would continue with him gone. Leigh said that he wondered if I wanted to do it and was glad that we did.

Saturday night was different. For one thing, Chazy is only a half hour or so from Ellenburg Depot. There were 600 or so people packed into the auditorium, a lot of them people who have supported us for twenty years now. Mom was in the front row. Dad was not. I tried not to look at Mom too much. She is such a strong woman and she laughed at all the typical Leigh/Eric foolishness. She has always done that, laughing at times when she really shouldn't have. I love her for it. Nearing the end of the show, I again asked Leigh. This time he announced the song and I saw those sad eyes that I've seen for weeks. Dad's eyes. I made the mistake of looking at Mom and my heart went even heavier. The song kicked in, and this time my voice was full of emotion, maybe too much. By the end of the second verse, some of the notes were breaking in the middle, but there was no question we were back on the farm with that strong man, that great man who never felt good enough...he should know we saw him as a king and we still do...the words were battering my already broken heart.

During Joe's mandolin solo, I gathered myself together. I could feel Dad telling me to toughen up. I delivered that final verse with power and pride and I felt Leigh do the same thing on the final chorus, a true tribute to a man and wife who made it through a lot of tough times. It felt good. When we played the song's last chord, the audience rose to its feet and I realized that I was shaking and that the tears were flowing as those kind folks poured out their hearts. I wasn't the only one. Many in the audience had read the obituary, had heard the song many times before, and they were telling us something with their ovation. We are one lucky band to have made a connection with people down through the years, people who feel like they know us through our music, that they know our family through our music. It has not been a product of any kind of phony marketing plan. Leigh and I will never forget that moment, and I know the rest of the band won't either. I cannot adequately express gratitude to those people for the moment they gave to us and to our mother.


Hunten, etc. - 12/14/2011

When I wrote in my journal last, I was experiencing the euphoria of the band being recognized by the IBMA for Album of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. You can't stay up forever. If I walked around constantly with the grin I've seen in pictures of me after the awards show, I would expect someone to rightfully smack me. Dad said, "You look drunk" when he saw us holding our trophies on the front page of Plattsburgh's Press-Republican. I definitely wasn't, but I was high on life. 

Like I said, those highs don't and can't last, and while I haven't been as high, I have been happy. We entered our traditionally quiet time of the year, musically-speaking, not long after IBMA. Even though we haven't been on the road much lately, I still feel like I've been going a hundred miles per hour with the responsibilities of being a father, husband, and son, and that's a good thing. We have been doing some renovation around the house, and my very able brothers-in-law continue to make me feel inept at anything other than music. I try my best to help, but I notice they send me to Lowe's a lot and that maybe my best help has been to stay out of their way. I did do a decent job of painting the kitchen and diningroom, according to my father-in-law.

Leigh left for South Dakota for a pheasant hunt and a show with some red-hot pickers/hunters on Thanksgiving weekend, so I booked a solo show at Dick's Country Store and Music Oasis in Churubusco, NY, my old stomping grounds. It seemed like a good idea when I booked it, but as the day approached, I got cold feet. "What have I done?" I complained to Corina. "You'll do fine," she assured me. "They will love you." I had been playing music my whole life, but I had never done a solo show. It was just me, my guitar, a new beard to hide behind, and my fancy Tom Horn-style cowboy jacket I bought in Nashville a few years back. When kicked into my first song, I was taken aback by how lonesome it sounded. I'm used to the BOOM of Mike's bass, Leigh's hammering guitar, Joe's steady rhythm chop, and Clayton drawing that bow along with me. It was just me and I was afraid it wasn't enough. By the third song, I felt confident enough to try a new one I had written with Joe Newberry. Some of the people stood after the song. What a feeling! They asked for it as my encore as well, something that has never happened before. I had high hopes for the song after it was written and they are higher now. Kelley joined me on stage near the end of the show to play a few of his mandolin originals. I doubt there are many better feelings than sharing the stage with your son. I enjoyed the evening and would try it again, but it didn't compare to being up there with the band. I love the power of picking in a bluegrass setting.

I have worried about the journal being too Eric-centric, but Leigh has no interest in sharing his thoughts at this point. So allow me to brag about my first buck. I bought my license a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning because my twelve year-old, Kieran, kept bugging me to take him hunting. He sat with me a few times last year at the foot of one of Leigh's tree stands on our property in the Town of Clinton and we never saw anything but a few crows and a squirrel. Still, he listed "hunten" as one of his favorite activities on a poster I saw at his school on Spaghetti Dinner Night, so when my wife suggested I take him, I did. After four hours of sitting in the woods together on the same day I bought my license, I harvested a seven-pointer that dressed out at 150 pounds. I also received a gash above my eye from looking too closely to the scope before I pulled the trigger. I am no big hunter. I had only ever seen one other buck in the woods and missed him when I was eighteen. I was not prepared. I just thought it would be nice to hang out with Kieran for the day. I had no rope, so I had to drag the deer about 300 feet through brush and across a stream. I had no truck nor any cell service, so I bottomed out three times with my 2001 Oldsmobile driving from camp to get him. And yes, I picked him up and stuffed him in the trunk. I walked into Mom and Dad's kitchen and with my bloody face and asked them to come look in my trunk. I think it was one of the shocks of Dad's life. Leigh has shot plenty of bucks. A few days later, Dad said, "I'm proud of you." I said, "Proud of me? I'm not. That was luck. I'm proud of Album of the Year. We worked for THAT." Plus, you don't cut your head open making records. Well, not usually.

I received more congratulatory phone calls that night than after the awards show. Heck, I didn't get that many calls after either of my kids were born. Corina is so sick of me talking about it, but it really is nice when a totally unexpected and positive surprise pops up. I will never forget that day and I know Kieran won't either. We'll have to try "hunten" again.


What A Night! - 10/1/2011

People kept telling us we were going to bring home awards from the International Bluegrass Association in Nashville. I thought with seven nominations that we might have a chance, but I purposely kept my expectations low to avoid being crushed if we came away with nothing. I told people that we had already won because we had seen an uptick in interest from promoters since the news of our nominations came out. In my private moments, I would look at every category and think there was a very good possibility that we'd have to be satisfied with the nominations alone. I was steeling myself for that to be enough. I had a friend text me saying, "I'm praying for you." I texted back, "Pray I can handle losing." We don't do this for awards. We do it for the love of the music. However, the awards help us to continue making music because they can really help a career. I pray for other things. I pray for my family and all my loved ones. I pray for strength. I don't pray for trophies. Not usually. God doesn't love the winners any more than He does the losers, on a stage or an athletic field. That said, I thank God for putting me with the group of guys he has and that our music is touching hearts, touching them enough that we get to come home with trophies for Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year.

After all the waiting, the show at Country Music's Mother Church, the Ryman Auditorium, went by in a blur for me. Sam Bush was an excellent host. I love how he recounted hearing a musician play a Monroe-style mandolin song for Bill Monroe. Monroe said, "That's good. Now what can you do?" What can you do? That rang in my head all night. We heard wonderful performances throughout the evening and applauded as people we now count as friends were announced and won or lost awards. I was happy for every single person who won, even in categories we hoped to win. You cannot argue with Russell Moore for Male Vocalist. He is a machine. The same can be said about Gospel Performance. Three of my heroes, Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, and Paul Williams won. I love that record. I knew Song of the Year would be tough because "Trains I Missed" is an incredible song done by a wonderful band (and new friends), Balsam Range. Entertainer of the Year? No one is bringing bluegrass to the masses more than Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Millions of people are getting a taste because of Steve's unabashed love for the banjo. I was so happy to see the bluegrass faithful at the Ryman treat him him so warmly. 

As the names were being announced for Vocal Group of the Year, I thought the odds were against us. We are a duet. The other acts were wonderful, and all featured duos, trios, even quartets. What chance did we have? When our name was announced, we were backstage getting ready for our performance. I don't even rermember who announced us. I heard our names and asked Jason Carter of the Del McCoury band to hold my banjo. I said, "Man, that makes you look a lot smarter." I know I didn't thank everyone I should have. We didn't prepare any kind of speech because we didn't want to jinx ourselves. We also wanted to be in the moment. Remember, we're the band who never writes a setlist for the same reason. Leigh was great. He thanked me and said he couldn't have done it without me because we really don't sound that good apart. The crowd laughed. The band had asked me if we won the award whether or not they should join the singers on stage. I insisted. I told the audience that our vocals were allowed to shine because our band supports our singing so beautifully. Mike, Clayton, and Joe are so selfless. They never take a night off, never take a song off. They give us their all every single time. I was so glad they were standing with us.

We set up to play "Help My Brother" while the legendary Del McCoury was being inducted. I was so happy that both Del and George Shuffler were inducted into IBMA's Hall of Honor, both so deserving. I was proud of how we performed. I mean, there's more than a little pressure when the best pickers in the world are either in the audience or waiting in the wings. We didn't get caught up in that. We just did our thing. After our performance, Leigh and I settled back in our seats in time to hear the nominees announced for Album of the Year as the other guys milled around in the very cramped backstage area. I won't lie. Leigh and I really wanted this one. I told my closest friends leading up to Thursday night that if we could get one, this is the one we wanted. All the other albums in our category were worthy as well and it would have been no shame to lose to any one of them. As Tim O'Brien paused before reading the winner, I'll admit I prayed silently, "Please God." Maybe it was selfish, but I did it. I felt "Help My Brother" was the culmination of Leigh, Mike (co-producer, of course) and I pounding the roads together for eighteen years. The record represented some of our best writing and wonderful writing by Chris Henry, Joe Newberry, Tim O'Brien, and Jon Weisberger. It included songs by influences Jim and Jesse, the Louvins, and O'Kanes and performances with Ricky Skaggs and Claire Lynch, two real-life musical heroes who were willing to join us. It has been #1 for five months in Bluegrass Unlimited. I felt we had a legitimate chance and wanted it badly enough to pray for it. "And the winner is..."Help My Brother" by the Gibson Brothers!" Thank you, Tim O'Brien, for reading it. Thank you, Lord, for everything else, for keeping us safe and for giving us talent and inspiration, and for putting people in our lives who make this possible. There are people I neglected to mention in the rush of it all, but I'm so happy I was able to thank Corina and the boys. I hadn't planned on saying it, but I meant it. Corina has been married to me for sixteen years. It is not easy being married to a musician, but she has never made me choose between her and the music. God bless that girl. I thought of my parents and the farm I still dream about. I thought about a lot of things. I hope I made sense.

I have never seen Leigh or Mike happier. Clayton and Joe were flying high as well, but I haven't spent eighteen hours in a van with them since the show like I have Leigh and Mike. We laughed and joked all the way back to New York. I think it was just a feeling of "we did it." We will not rest on our laurels. We know there is always room for improvement and that goal stays the same, but for once we're not the baseball team that says yet again, "Wait 'til next year." This year, next year is now for the Gibson Brothers. We are so grateful to all who made it possible. Thank you.


Leigh Boy - 8/29/2011

Forgive us if we've been a little giddy on stage since the 2011 IBMA nominations were announced, but we are just so happy to be recognized with seven nods. We knew we were making inroads, getting in front of more people than ever this year and receiving strong airplay (the two go hand in hand, don't they?, but we didn't anticipate this kind of jump. Every category is filled with strong candidates, and we may come away with no trophies, but to be in the conversation makes us proud and thankful. Speaking of proud, I am so proud of Leigh. He is such a good singer. I called him after the announcement was made that he'd been nominated for Male Vocalist, and he was almost apologetic. "Well, it's because we're known for our duet, and I happened to sing lead on the songs that were nominated, and..."

No, Leigh, you are a great singer who is being recognized as such. Enjoy this. I have always been amazed by his tone, his range, his ability to blend, and his phrasing. He's my favorite singer (well, other than Merle Haggard) and I'm proud of him. I think he's a little embarrassed by it all so he cracks wise. I announced his nomination on stage at an Irish festival in Bennington, VT, and he said, "Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you. If folks didn't have your singing to compare me to, it never would have happened."

He's a funny guy. As Hurricane Irene approached, we were playing the Blistered Fingers Festival in Litchfield, Maine, and it was announced that the event would be cut short by a day and we would be the final band on Saturday night. The people who remained were enjoying the show, but there was a sense of dread as to what the weather would bring. After a fine response from the audience after an uptempo number, Leigh replied, "Thank you so much. But why do I feel like the band on the Titanic?" Earlier in the day, he warned the crowd that they'd be finding lobsters in the trees over the next few days. His mind works in mysterious ways. But he sure can sing.


After All This Time... - 8/13/2011

Many miles have passed since I last wrote in my journal. I apologize to those who follow along for not tending to this, but life has gotten in the way. Trying to balance everything proves tough from time to time, and I have been stretched in ways I didn't think possible in the past few months. I am fine and stronger than I realized, but I think I'd rather be weak and untested. Musically, we have been enjoying a strong season on stage and on the charts. "Help My Brother" has topped the Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Music Profiles albums and singles charts for multiple months and "Singing As We Rise" and "Walkin' West to Memphis" have had chart success as well. We recently had excellent exposure on Katy Daley's three hour Master's Class on WAMU's Bluegrass Country and on Kyle Cantrell's Track-by-Track on Sirius XM. We received some outside-the-bluegrass-world coverage in Acoustic Guitar with a fine article by Kenny Berkowitz. I have said it so many times, but what a feeling it is to go places we've never been and to find that people are familiar with the songs and our story. This is what we've been working towards for a long time. People keep telling me how happy they are for us. I tell them that we are reaping the rewards of showing up for twenty years.

I would say the biggest highlight of the past few months was our trip to the Yukon. Clayton, Joe, and I went up early to teach at Kluane Bluegrass Camp for several days before Mike and Leigh joined us to play the festival in Whitehorse on the weekend. The people were so warm and treated us like kings. The scenery was jaw-dropping. I enjoyed the 23 or so hours of sunlight and the lighting in general up there. It tickled me to be called a 'southern boy.' I guess just about everybody is 'southern' to someone in the Yukon. The camp was in the wild, and I spent a good share of my time looking over my shoulder for grizzlies. The locals seemed to have a devil-may-care approach. "Ah, only about one person a year gets eaten. You're more likely to get hit by lighning." Well, I was almost killed by lightning on a mountain in Virginia, so I looked out for them anyway. A bunch of us went for a bike ride to the Yukon River. Bear spray and little bells were the deterrent we brought. I'd have preferred a higher calibre, myself. It was fun jamming with the folks up there. They play a lot of Fred Eaglesmith, which is fine by me. The food was delicious and healthy and I came away from the experience feeling good mentally and physically. I hope they invite the Southern Boys back soon.

I have seen a lot of baseball this summer. My youngest son, Kieran, made the Malone All-Stars (11-12 year-olds). I drove through several Saturday nights to get to see Sunday baseball. He tried catching for the first time this year and I cannot believe how quickly he took to it. He's blocking pretty well, has a strong arm, and frames pitches like someone much older. I can't teach him much because I never caught. He made the all-stars as a catcher and made me very proud. His hitting came on toward the end of the season. I almost fell asleep three times driving from New Hampshire in the rain last Saturday night in order to watch him, but I would have missed seeing him get three hits, the last a booming RBI double to center. I know it's stupid to risk it like that, but I miss too much. I need to be there when I can, and if I'm within striking distance, I'll do whatever it takes. Time is passing too quickly and I need to make my mark.


GBs Meet Wayne Henderson - 5/17/2011

Wayne Henderson is one cool cat. We met the luthier/fingerpicking master in February at Wintergrass and hit it off. My friend Eddie Greenwood's Uncle Tom let me borrow one of his guitars, a Henderson, and I loved it. Uncle Tom Sulock actually has TWO Hendersons and Leigh and I jammed on both of these exquisite guitars, smiling the whole time. After our performances at Wintergrass, Leigh and I rode with Trisha Tubbs to a nearby Grange Hall to attend a Wayne Henderson performance. His picking was wonderful as was his wit. He invited us onstage for a few numbers. I think we are musical kin. Fast forward a month and a half or so when we were touring the Southeast. We had a couple of days off in the middle of the week, so Leigh and I drove to Wayne's in Rugby, VA, Population 7. We had heard of The Crooked Road, Highway 58, but had never experienced this beautiful and treacherous stretch of blacktop. I am afraid of heights, much to the delight of my band mates. Something about sheer drop offs with no guardrails really bothers me. In fact, it makes sweat beads pop out on my forehead. I've experienced similar feelings in California and in Colorado. The ride was worth it to see Wayne's shop and to meet his daughter Elizabeth. She had my number. We were talking about Facebook, and I said that I really couldn't have the Instant Messaging function on with 5,000 friends. I said, "I'd never get any work done." Right away, she said, "Oh, that's right. You're FAMOUS." I felt my face turn red. "No, I didn't mean it that way." She and Leigh had a good laugh at my expense. We picked with Wayne and swapped stories (his stories were way better!). He let us play so many of his beautiful guitars and ended our visit by firing a small cannon off that sent the horses in the hilly field across the road running. In between, Wayne invited us to play his festival next June. We look forward to it. I like Wayne. He's talented and likes to laugh. Good combo.


A Night on the Road - 4/14/2011

We have three rooms booked in a hotel in Toledo, OH, yet the five of us have all assembled in the same room. Joe Walsh is sitting on one bed picking my Gallagher like I've never been able to, while Leigh and Mike are playing guitar and mandolin, respectively, on the other bed facing Joe while working on an instrumental Leigh and Joe are writing. They just stopped to listen to a suggestion from onlooker Clayton Campbell. "Why don't you double-time it?" They try. "That sounds like a McCoury-type instrumental!" Mike sets the mandolin down. "I don't like this double-timing idea. This is beyond my mandolin abilities," says Mike with a laugh and Clayton takes over the mando duties as they switch to a Carter Family-sounding tune. Oh, I know this song. Leigh, wearing his new Toledo Mudhens hat after attending a game tonight with Joe, breaks into "Banks of the Ohio." Joe adds a keening tenor. I wonder how long this can go before Leigh adds obscene lyrics? Well, he just answered that question before I could finish typing the last sentence. I knew it. I am missing home, but there are far worse places to be than where I am right now. We have three-part harmonies now! Clayton has joined in. The blend is good, but I am worried we will get complaints from other hotel guests. I think I'll make fun of the way Leigh looks in the hat. In the past, I've done this and he's ended up giving me the clothing I made fun of. I'm really liking that hat.

We have been playing so many shows lately, and I'm not complaining. We have had several great nights in succession. We started this current trip in Peru, NY, headed to Saratoga Springs and then on to Anoka, MN, and Chicago. We play Pittsburgh tomorrow and McClean, VA, Saturday. I have never felt such power on stage, a direct result of time logged together, on stage and off. Times like this. Mike left a few minutes ago and has returned with his lap steel, a gift from his dad, Junior. He has no amp but he's having fun anyway. Joe sings "I am a Pilgrim" now. I like his singing. He's been singing on stage with us from time to time. I love that we're a brother duet, but I'm all for looking for other dimensions, new wrinkles. Joe's working on Ricky Skaggs' baritone part for "Singing as we Rise" and he's done "Mole in the Ground" a few times on stage now. 

The boys are feeling laid-back tonight. Maybe this is relaxing after the hectic ride through Chicago. Leigh's singing "Darcy Farrow," one we did as teens. I know he's my brother and I'm biased, but who's better? Who has a better tone? Who has more range? Leigh could sing any kind of music and do it justice. I feel lucky that he likes bluegrass. Man, Lefty Frizzell! They're doing "Always Late With Your Kisses" now. Ah, Clayton just got a phone call. I'd take the mandolin chair, but I'm such a string killer that I'm afraid I'd make Joe have to change his strings prematurely. Banjo would be too loud this late at night. I'm enjoying myself enough listening. For now, it's good to be me.


2011/03/01 12:07pm

DIXIE (Eric Gibson) -- I read Peter Guralnick's Elvis Presley bios, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, a few years ago. I was so engrossed in the books that I think I drove my bandmates crazy talking about Elvis. I learned that he was engaged to a girl named Dixie Locke before stardom hit. She went to Florida to be with family for a few weeks and returned to Memphis to find her boyfriend all over the radio. He went from being a truckdriver to being a household name in a short time, his career taking off like a rocket and their relationship getting lost in the dust. I couldn't help but wonder if Elvis ever wished for simpler times as he sang those Gospel songs all night long after the show was over out in Vegas. I wondered if he ever thought of Dixie. 

WANT VS. NEED (Tim O'Brien, Leigh Gibson, Eric Gibson) -- We wanted to write with Tim O'Brien for a long time before we summoned the nerve to ask. He answered my e-mail within fifteen minutes and we scheduled a session in Nashville in the fall of 2009. We are so honored. We sat around drinking coffee and visiting and the subject of trying to teach our kids the difference between want and need came up. Somehow we got talking about how some people are just so easy to talk to, and even how it's nice to find a friend who is content just to hang out without feeling the need to converse. Our friend George Crawford is like that. Leigh had the beautiful guitar riff for years waiting for the right moment to find a place for it. I think he found it.