On an uncharacteristically warm and bright day in mid-February, I caught up with Eric and Leigh Gibson to talk about their music and their upcoming April 14th performance for the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association. The Gibson Brothers were touring in Florida, enjoying a little down time and the relaxed atmosphere around the Hollowpoint Farm. Eric had previously said to me, “I hope to get in some good walks.” What follows are some highlights from our conversation that touched on music, community, story-telling and creativity. I spoke with Eric first, then followed up with a separate conversation with Leigh.

With Eric Gibson

Chris: The HVBA is an organization and audience that knows you well. In many ways, they are your home audience. What do you want them to know about the Gibson Brothers that is new and enticing when thinking ahead to the April, 2018 show?

Eric: Yeah, it’s been a couple years since we played for the Hudson Valley folks, and it’s been fun every time. They’re just fun to hang out with. In addition to providing a good place to play, they entertain us! (laughs)

Chris: So this will be the first time you’ve seen them since In The Ground came out?

Max Maksimik: Last time John Reishmann and the Jaybirds were on the East Coast was in 2013. It's great having you back three years later, but I wish it wasn't so long between shows!

John Reischmann: We're very happy to be returning to the East Coast for some concerts, including the Freshgrass on the 18th and the Friday night concert at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall in Poughkeepsie on the 16th. And I was just thinking about playing at the Town Crier in Poughkeepsie 35 years ago when I was on tour with the with the Tony Rice Unit, so it's good to be playing back here 35 years later.

Editor’s Note:

In April 2012 and again in 2014, the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association presented a series of classes entitled “The Evolution of Bluegrass” to a group of students enrolled in the Center for Lifetime Studies, a program sponsored by Marist College. This course will also be given again this coming April.

Eric Rosi-Marshall participated in the 2012 classes and was the lecturer who led the 2014 course.

As a band leader, independent music teacher, and parent, Eric Rosi-Marshall is devoted to cultivating a love of music as a vibrant and vital force in people’s lives.

Since moving to the Hudson Valley in 2010, Eric has conducted music enrichment courses for toddlers and pre-schoolers, immersing them in the experience, language, and joy of music-making. His weekly parent/child music & movement course literally includes newborns (“get ‘em early” he says). Eric also teaches formal guitar and bass lessons at a regional middle school and offers private lessons in his home studio to people of all ages. Eric’s students range in age from grade school students to adult retirees who are finally returning to a passion and ambition they may have set aside decades earlier. His guiding principle is to encourage people of all ages to appreciate and participate in live music as a way to enjoy themselves and connect with others.

Receiving an announcement from Kat Mills recently about her forth upcoming CD, I realized it was time to check in with this long time HVBA member who was around at the very dawn of the organization.

A little history from Kat:
In late summer 1996, when Nicholas and I married, just after he graduated from Vassar College, there was no doubt in our minds that we wanted to live in the Hudson Valley. I had finished at Vassar three years before, and had spent the interim in Austin TX, Fort Collins CO and State College PA. We were looking for a community that would line up with our music, our politics, and our love of farm fresh food, good beer and nature. No place called us quite like that rich mix of towns scattered up and down the river, peacefully nestled between the mountains and the city.

Mary Doub Accepting "Event of The Year" Award at IBMA

You’re a producer. What does the producer do for a big festival such as Grey Fox?

I used to have to do it all myself. I started in ’85 by doing everything but sell tickets. I booked it, I got the volunteers and I got the vendors, but I slowly realized that it takes a lot of people to make something like this work. Now, as a producer, I oversee everything that happens. It’s like putting together a mosaic where I’m the only person who can see how all the pieces fit together.

How did you come to this job? What’s your background?

It was serendipitous. I had a good friend who was a musician who I used to go see play. At one show, where they were the second act, the first act had cancelled and the owner asked them if they had enough material to play the whole show. They said “sure” - and I found myself saying: “not for second act money!” The owner agreed, so, after that night, they wanted me to manage them. I didn’t know too much about managing, but I quickly realized that there was a lot of good music and a shortage of good venues. So I got interested in finding good venues and jobs for this band, which in turn led me to become involved with the Berkshire Mountain Bluegrass Festival. The producer of that festival asked me to help raise some capital and I was able to see what needed to be done. I didn’t have a great deal of control, but I saw all the moving parts. When the opportunity (with Winterhawk-now Grey Fox) came in 1985, I thought, “I’m ready to try this.”

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