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Review: The Gibson Brothers, Iron & Diamonds

Most frequently compared to the Louvin Brothers, the Gibsons earn such lofty comparisons on their fourth album.

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The Gibson Brothers, Iron & Diamonds

A fixture on the bluegrass and folk circuit for well over a decade, the Gibson Brothers (led by dual frontmen Leigh and Eric Gibson, backed by bassist Mike Barber, fiddler Clayton Campbell, and mandolinist Rick Hayes) have built their reputation on some exceptional close-harmony vocal arrangements. Most frequently compared to the Louvin Brothers, the Gibsons earn such lofty comparisons on their fourth album, Iron & Diamonds, by recording their vocals on a single mic, capturing the brothers’ tightest harmonies to date. The intricacies of their arrangements and the first-rate performances by the band are best captured on the title track, a tribute to the Adirondack mining community where the brothers grew up, and the spirited “Long Way Down,” two original songs that speak to the Gibsons’ command of traditional bluegrass forms. It’s the album’s cover tunes, including Tom Petty’s “Cabin Down Below” and Julie Miller’s “Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go,” that are somewhat lacking—a surprise, given the band’s often inspired choices on previous albums. Still, the harmonies and enthusiastic performances elevate the material, and Iron & Diamonds stands as an accomplished example of contemporary bluegrass.

Label: Sugarhill Release Date: April 6, 2008 Buy: Amazon

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