Prominent Bluegrasser(s) Living in NY – Trivia Contest

This Contest is Closed
The winners are Todd Evans and Gayle Yeomans

click to enlarge

NOVEMBER 24, 2023 TRIVIA QUESTION

All righty then, fill in the blank with a TOP-RANKED bluegrass performer(s), from New York state, and STILL LIVING IN NY STATE! Who can we claim as our very own?
____________________________________________________________

Hints: Not Bill Knowlton, the Case Brothers, the late Smokey Greene, Pete Wernick, Dan Tyminski, the late Eric Weissberg, nor Bill Monroe.

ANSWER is “The Gibson Brothers”

Additional Bowden Comments

Yes, our top ranking bluegrass stars who are from and still live in New York are the Gibson Brothers, Leigh and Eric. I used to have a hard time remembering which brother went by which name, until it dawned on my that Leigh was the guitar man, like Lester Flatt, both names beginning with “L”, and guess what banjo playing Eric had the same first initial as Earl Scruggs. Problem solved.

Probably the first time I encountered the brothers in person was back in the 1990s when the Boston Bluegrass Union was trying to start up a Joe Val Memorial Festival. It landed on a town ball field in Newton Mass (for one year only). I was playing in a guitar/mandolin duet called “The Case Brothers – Martin & Gibson” at the time. We were on the bill, and we waited off stage to be introduced. Of course the emcee got this tongue tangled up in his eye teeth and couldn’t see what he was saying, so he gave us a big buildup and called out “The GIBSON BROTHERS!” Confused silence from the audience as we sauntered out, just the two of us. Oh well. The emcee instantly realized his mistake, and he felt worse than we did.

The Gibsons are from the same county that the mandolin/guitar designer Orville Gibson came from — Clinton County. Way up NORTH of Plattsburgh along the Canadian border. There are a lot of Gibsons up in that country; it’s an old Scottish family name. The Brothers say they’re unaware of any close relation to Orville Gibson. Brother Leigh now lives in Scotia NY along the Mohawk River — Eric is still close to home.

Several other top names from New York include banjoists Tony Trischka and Pete Wernick. Both live outside New York now. Mandolinist Frank Wakefield has lived around Saratoga for a long time, but he’s originally from the midwest. Banjoist Bill Keith lived in Beacon for decades, but he’s “from” Massachusetts.

Leigh and Eric, the Gibson Brothers, certainly have made and continue to make New Yorkers proud. And bass playing Mike Barber, the “third” Gibson Brother, is a New Yorker too. All to show how far and how fast bluegrass has spread from the Grand Ole Opry since 1945.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *