Leigh and Eric Gibson’s “Bluegrass Spring” bloomed into summer at the IBMA awards in sunny Nashville tonight. A win for Vocal Group of the Year came first. Joe Newberry’s Singing As We Rise was used in both the nomination announcement and the background music after the win. With Leigh and Eric’s intertwining double tenor harmonies on the song and Ricky Skaggs doubling bass and baritone on the recording, the hair on the back of my neck stood up à la Gibson. Tears came to my eyes as I held Kristin’s hand during Leigh and Eric’s words of acceptance. The acknowledgement of their band, the legacy of brother duets gone before, the deep appreciation for being nominated and hearing their speaking voices in relation to the musical giants with whom they stand overwhelmed me.
After Del McCoury accepted his IBMA Hall of Fame Award, he spoke of days with Bill Monroe, expressed thanks to his record labels, family, band members and management, and ended with “I know you want to hear this band ’cause these boys can sing.” Leigh immediately counted off the lead in to Help My Brother. Del yeah!
Help My Brother won IBMA Album of the Year! Eric shared a sentiment that I hold dear: he thanked his wife for not making him choose between her and playing the banjo. Leigh paid tribute to the songwriters who joined him and Eric on the album. I then listened to James Alan Shelton, George Shuffler and the Del McCoury Band and special guests end the evening. I will start tomorrow morning with the Gibson Brothers.