The tough, raspy, world-weary voice of Otis Gibbs – a singer-songwriter from Wanamaker, Indiana – permeates the compositions on his visionary long player, Grandpa Walked a Picketline.
"Beto Junction" has the typical leanings of the usual folk coffee shop fare, but scratch beneath the surface, and you find the authentic underpinnings of social unrest and interconnected human dynamics. "Caroline" starts Grandpa off with a high pitched bounce, augmented by the crackling rhythm section of Don Dixon on bass and Will Rigby on drums. Gibbs has fleshed out his band with stellar support from Amy Lashley on backing vocals, Tim Easton on mandolin, Al Perkins on pedal steel and dobro, and Chris Carmichael on fiddle, invigorating the involving nuances on the winning track, "Damn Me." Gibbs writes all the material on Grandpa Walked a Picketline, and his selective combination of lyrics and instrumentation packs a powerful pop on the transcendent number, "Ain’t Nothin Special."
Produced by Chris Stamey, Grandpa Walked a Picketline has a pristine, echoing sound that perfectly balances the vocals and music of Otis Gibbs to great effect. It’s a country-folk gem.
Grandpa Walked a Picketline is out now on Wanamaker Recording Company.