On Thursday February 21st, WagonWheel Presents… welcomes favourite son of Wanamaker, Indiana, USA, Otis Gibbs back to The Greystones. Writer of songs, teller of tales, populist agitator, social dissident, planter of 7000 trees, photographer, musician, iconoclast. A man trying to live decently in an indecent world. Otis comes back to Sheffield as part of a European tour to promote his latest album ‘Harder Than Hammered Hell’. Support comes from Boss Caine. Advance tickets priced at £8 are available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/191647 and over the bar at The Greystones. Entry on the night will be £10. Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start.
Otis Gibbs is a man in search of an honest experience. Gibbs is often
referred to as a folk artist, but that is a simplistic way to describe
a man who has planted over 7,000 trees, slept in hobo jungles, walked
with nomadic shepherds in Romania, was a fifth grade yo-yo champion
and once wrestled a bear (and lost). Otis has played countless,
theaters, festivals, bars and house concerts and has managed to carve
out a living, while remaining happily independent. Much of his work
concentrates on the world ignored by pop culture. Sometimes forgotten,
obsolete, or simply marginalized, it is a world that doesn’t fit into
a twenty-second sound bite, or talking point. Otis has spent the last
fifteen years traveling across America and abroad documenting this
world, and has a story to share about each stop along the way.
Harder Than Hammered Hell, is Otis Gibbs’ sixth album. It’s also the
fourth release by Wanamaker Recording Company, the East Nashville
based independent label he started in 2008 with long time partner Amy
Lashley. The album title was inspired by experiences Otis had when
he worked as a tree-planter in Indiana. Much of what he learned came
from a seventy-year-old friend/co-worker. The man would
describe ground that is too hard to dig as, “harder than hammered
hell.” He would also use the phrase when referring to a difficult job,
or a particularly tough person. Otis found it a fitting metaphor for
the difficulties of leading a creative life
The album features performances by Thomm Jutz on guitar, Mark Fain on
bass, Paul Griffith on drums and Amy Lashley on vocals. When asked
about his approach to making records Otis replied, “I’m silly enough
to believe that I’m the world’s foremost authority on what an Otis
Gibbs record should sound like. I tend to enjoy stripped down
arrangements that highlight the song and the vocal.” Jutz’ tasteful
playing style blends perfectly in this setting. Gibbs produced the
record, with Jutz engineering, making this their third collaboration.
There is a feeling of strength and perseverance that resonates throughout
this record. Otis’ work often speaks of accepting the harsh realities
of life without giving into them. Songs like Never Enough, Made To
Break and Broke And Restless are a reflection of that spirit.
Don’t Worry Kid recalls childhood feelings of not fitting in. “I wish
that more people would be honest with kids and let them know that
there’s nothing wrong with feeling different. Any sane person would
feel out of place in a society that idolizes celebrities and trash
culture while catering to short attention spans. The good news is
they’re not alone and it does get better.”
Big Whiskers was inspired by a childhood memory. In1966, the World
Record Flathead Catfish (79lb 8oz) was caught out of White River near
Gibbs’ childhood home. Otis fished that same river countless times and
heard many stories of huge catfish spotted there. Otis asked his
friend, Adam Carroll to help him finish a song based on some of these
tall tales. Gibbs and Carroll met up at a rundown hotel outside of
Austin, Texas and finished the song in an afternoon.
Otis currently resides in East Nashville with his partner Amy Lashley.
“It’s the perfect mix of wit and grit” No Depression
“Gibbs is a Midwesterner with a long beard, a trucker’s hat and and a bag of sharply observed country-rock songs, some far enough to the left side of the political fence to make him a spiritual descendent of Woody Guthrie and brother of Steve Earle.” The Boston Herald
“With a proper growl, a lefty sensibility and a well picked acoustic guitar, Otis Gibbs is the Steve Earle of his generation, albeit without the drug history or the divorces.” Americana-uk.com
Boss Caine released their debut album: ‘The Ship That Sailed’, on independent label Little Num Num Music, in 2010. The record contains a selection of tunes written by Lucas over the last few years; a time that saw him leave his home town for London, before returning to York and putting together the line-up of local musicians that would become Boss Caine. Years of hard living, hard drinking and love turned sour inform an album that at times visits some quite dark places, but is ultimately carried along by a healthy dose of Northern positivity and stoicism.
The album was recorded in the North Yorkshire countryside at ‘The Factory of Unprofessional Sound’ and sees Boss Caine’s core team of Lucas, Andy Gaines and Sam Forrest joined by many of the musicians who have played in the band over the last few years. The follow up The Rhythm And The Rhyme is set to be released in early 2013.
“…Tom Waits singing Ryan Adams if they had both had the good fortune to grow up in Yorkshire….” – The Fly
“Boss Caine are the real deal. They will rip your heart out and toss it back to you many songs later doused in whiskey, soul and more emotions than you know how to handle!” – Northern Music
“An exceptional debut” – Backroadsmusic.co.uk
Facebook Event page:
Last.fm Event page: