With nearly a dozen trophies from the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, the Gibson Brothers have built their legacy upon a sound that salutes the past while still pushing forward. Their close harmonies nod to old-school family bands like the Louvin Brothers and the Monroe Brothers, while their concerts — filled with flat-picking, high-lonesome hollers and plenty of rustic stomp — often find the siblings stretching their legs with Tom Petty covers and Everly Brothers tributes.
Released next month, Mockingbird finds the Gibson Brothers working with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who helps take their sound into new territory. Inspired by Bob Seger, the Eagles and other Seventies mainstays whose songs blanketed the FM airwaves during the siblings’ childhood in upstate New York, the album mixes the Gibson Brothers’ bluegrass chops with classic-rock influences and vintage R&B. It also includes another unexpected cover: a tender remake of the R.E.M. ballad “Everybody Hurts,” off the band’s 1992 album Automatic for the People.
“It is a little intimidating to cover a song by an iconic band like R.E.M.,” admits Eric Gibson, “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.”
In the video above, the Gibson Brothers rebuild “Everybody Hurts” into a vintage blend of soft rock and hazy country-soul. George Salisbury, creative director for the Flaming Lips, directed the psychedelic clip, while the Lips’ own Derek Brown makes an appearance on pedal steel. The result is another boundary-pushing track from a bluegrass band that’s never been afraid to reach outside the genre’s traditional circle.