The Gibson Brothers Debut Their Cover Of R.E.M.’S “Everybody Hurts”

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Bluegrass royalty, Leigh and Eric Gibson, today debut the music video for their cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” via Paste Magazine, who say the band “dig into the R.E.M. classic’s roots to enshrine the country-western framework hiding under the original’s prom-song sway, fashioning it into a good old-fashioned crying-in-the-haystack anthem.” The video was directed by the Flaming Lips’ creative director, George Salisbury, and the Lip’s Derek Brown can be seen performing slide-guitar within the video. Eric Gibson said of their cover: “It is a little intimidating to cover a song by an iconic band like R.E.M., but I think co-producers Dan Auerbach and Dave “Fergie” Ferguson helped us put our own twist on it with our harmonies and the powerful playing of the studio band. The message, I think, is very timely. So many are hurting. But there is always hope, and the lyrics and feel of this song drive that point home.” Watch the music video for “Everybody Hurts” via Paste Magazine here.

The Gibson Brothers will release their 14th album, Mockingbird, on November 9th via Easy Eye Sound. The album, produced by Grammy Award winners Dan Auerbach and Fergie Ferguson, is not just a return to form for the Gibson Brothers, but also a rebirth, and builds on the brothers’ Bluegrass legacy and finds them playing a mix of country, soul and seventies rock. “The songs on this album are the sounds we heard growing up, riding around with our dad, who was a farmer, in his pickup, or with our mom in her station wagon,” says Leigh. “This sound was on the radio.” He cites the Eagles, Bob Seger, Tom Petty, and the warm country sounds of Don Williams, Emmylou Harris and Waylon Jennings as influences for the album. Mockingbird is available for pre-order on all formats here.

The band recently debuted “Lay Your Body Down,” the first single off Mockingbird, via Rolling Stone Country who says the track “finds the sweet spot between Laurel Canyon folk-rock and early Seventies Rolling Stones with big, layered vocal harmonies and crunchy blues flourishes.” Listen to it here. Additionally, SiriusXM’s ­­Outlaw Country (channel 60) played the song in Mojo Nixon’s broadcast, and the song has been added into their rotation.

The Gibson Brothers have tour dates throughout the end of the year (full dates below) and will perform at the “Tribute to Ralph & Carter Stanley” on Wednesday, October 24th, at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater in downtown Nashville alongside Dierks Bentley and Dan Auerbach. Tickets for all The Gibson Brothers shows are available here.

As Northerners growing up in a Southern business, The Gibson Brothers had to work twice as hard as the bands from the South to pay their dues, and were the first group from that far north to earn the coveted title of IBMA Entertainers of the Year, which they secured two years in a row. This outsider perspective is something innately familiar to the Brothers, and an asset, though this was not always the case. The pair played the Nashville game two decades ago, while in their early 20s, and were offered a major label deal, only to be told at the last minute that they were too “retro” for modern country music. Today, such characterizations, along with their authenticity, set them apart and their talent as writers and vocalists allows them to float seamlessly between genres. It’s for this reason that they chose to work with a rock producer, Auerbach, and a band of legendary session players like drummer Gene Chrisman and guitarist Billy Sanford for Mockingbird. “I was raised on bluegrass music, and The Gibson Brothers are one of this generation’s greatest in that style,” said Auerbach. “I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time, and when Fergie brought up the idea of doing a non-traditional type of album with them, I jumped at the chance.”

Songs like “Cool Drink of Water” and “Love the Land” exemplify that late-Sixties and early-Seventies vibe. The former sounds like something Elvis, at the height of his ’68 Comeback cool, would perform, and provides the album with its title, as Leigh sings about the “song so sweet” of the mockingbird. “Come Down,” evokes the 70’s sound of radio rock kings America and “Lay Your Body Down” concours a passionate Exile on Main Street style R&B.

Mockingbird’s most left-field track, however, is a cover of R.E.M.’s 1993 song “Everybody Hurts.” Suggested by Ferguson, the ballad became the ideal duet for Leigh and Eric, with the brothers making the song their own via their yearning delivery and the house band’s lush arrangement. “I think it’s a beautiful song, but I couldn’t picture us doing it,” says Eric. “It surprised me with how it turned out. It was too good to not put on the record.” The members of R.E.M. agree. “It’s incredible! They did a great job,” says vocalist Michael Stipe. Bill Berry, R.E.M.’s former drummer, and one of the original writers of the song, chimes in, saying, “It’s the best cover of it I’ve heard.”

Most of all, Mockingbird dispels the notion that the Gibson’s are solely a bluegrass act. “I don’t want to downplay what we accomplished in bluegrass,” says Eric, but I didn’t know our voices would suit this variety of music so well.” His brother agrees. “If you thought you knew the Gibson Brothers and had them figured out,” Leigh says, “well, maybe you didn’t.”

Mockingbird Track Listing
01 Travelin’ Day
02 Cool Drink Of Water
03 Love The Land
04 Sweet Lucinda
05 Special One
06 Lay Your Body Down
07 So Much Love In My Baby’s Eyes
08 Come Down
09 Everybody Hurts
10 I’m A Better Man
11 Not Gonna Be Tonight

The Gibson Brothers Tour Dates- http://www.gibsonbrothers.com/tour-1/
Oct 11/// A Little Help From My Friends @ Clayton Center /// Maryville, TN
Oct 12 /// A Little Help From My Friends @ Imperial Theatre /// Augusta, GA
Oct 20 /// Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival /// Farmers Branch, TX
Oct 24 /// Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater // Nashville, TN
Oct 26 /// Anderson Bluegrass Festival /// Anderson, SC
Oct 27 /// City Springs /// Sandy Springs, GA (with Sierra Hull, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley)
Nov 10 /// November Palatka Bluegrass Festival /// Palatka, FL
Nov 12 /// Analog at the Hutton /// Nashville, TN (Mockingbird Band)
Nov 13 /// Grand Ole Opry /// Nashville, TN (Mockingbird Band)
Nov 15 /// City Winery /// Washington, DC (Mockingbird Band)
Nov 16 /// Creative Alliance /// Baltimore, MD (Mockingbird Band)
Nov 29 /// One Longfellow Square /// Portland, ME (Mockingbird Band)
Dec 07 /// Proctor’s Theatre /// Schenectady, NY (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 08 /// Barre Opera House /// Barre, VT (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 09 /// Bull Run /// Shirley, MA (Mockingbird Band)
Dec 13 /// Sellersville Theatre /// Sellersville, PA (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 14 /// Hawks & Reed PAC /// Greenfield, MA (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 15 /// NACS High School Auditorium /// Ellenburg Depot, NY (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 16 /// Earlville Opera House /// Earlville, NY (North Country Christmas Show)
Dec 31 /// First Night Saranac Lake /// Saranac Lake, NY
Jan 03 /// Thomas Center /// Gainesville, FL
Jan 04 /// New Year’s Bluegrass Festival /// Jekyll Island, GA
Jan 06 /// The Rooster’s Wife /// Aberdeen, NC
Feb 01 /// Strand Theatre /// Rockland, ME (Mockingbird Band)
Feb 02 /// Stone Mountain Arts Center /// Brownfield, ME
Feb 14 /// February Palatka Festival /// Palatka, FL
Mar 09 /// Stoughton Opera House /// Stoughton, WI
Mar 16 /// Historic Earle Theatre /// Mount Airy, NC
Mar 22 /// First Umc Burnside Family Life Center /// Marysville, OH
Jun 14 /// Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival /// Lowville, NY
Jun 29 /// Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival /// Tunbridge, VT
Aug 01 /// Pickin’ in Parsons Bluegrass Festival /// Parsons, WV