Champlain Ellenburg Depot natives Eric and Leigh Gibson and their bluegrass band — The Gibson Brothers — topped the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award nominations this year with eight, IBMA officials announced Aug. 14 at their Nashville headquarters.
They were followed by Balsam Range with seven nominations, and The Boxcars, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Russell Moore & IIIrd Time Out with six nominations each.
The Gibson Brothers are the 2012 IBMA Entertainers of the Year and walked away with the 2012 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “Singing As We Rise,” recorded with Ricky Skaggs and written by Joe Newberry. This is the latest string of successes for the northern New York band, which debuted on the IBMA scene in 1998 as Emerging Artists of the Year and garnered other awards, such as Song of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year in 2010 for “Ring the Bell,” Vocal Group of the Year in 2011, and Album of the Year in 2011 for “Help My Brother.”
This year, they made the IBMA press release headlines, which were picked up by all the major country and bluegrass music news sources.
“I’m completely honored and overwhelmed,” Eric Gibson said between sets at the Aug. 17 Champlain Day concert. “I never dreamed that we’d lead the pack. I didn’t know that was true until I saw CMT.com and Billboard.com.”
The Saturday night event — two hours of free music — was homecoming of sorts for the band, as many friends and family traveled to Champlain to see their performance. You couldn’t throw a biscuit without hitting someone with a Gibson Brothers ball cap or T-shirt. And, true to their Entertainer of the Year status, they gave as spirited a performance in the Champlain town highway garage as they did July 4 on the Ryman Auditorium stage in Nashville.