Wednesday 6th February 2013 @7:15pm
Tickets £10 each.
Secure Online Ticket Sales: Make a booking
Otis Gibbs to play the Square Tower
“Those who have seen him before know what a great raconteur Otis is and his stories always mix just the right amount of humour and pathos to keep everyone in the palm of his hand.”
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 7,000 trees, slept in hobo jungles, walked with nomadic shepherds in Romania, was a 5th grade Yo-Yo champion and once wrestled a bear (and lost!).
Otis has played countless theatres, 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. Sometime forgotten, obsolete or simply marginalised, it is a world that doesn’t fit into a 20 second sound bite or talking point.
Otis has spent the last 15 years travelling aroundAmericaand abroad, documenting this world and has a story to share about each stop along the way.
“Harder Than Hammered Hell” is Otis Gibbs’ 6th album. It is also the 4th release by the Wanamaker Recording Company, theEast 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 inIndiana. Much of what he learned came from a 70 year old friend / co-worker. The man would describe ground that is to hard to dig as “harder then 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 from 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 in to 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 there’s nothing wrong with feeling different. Any sane person would feel out of place in a society that idolises celebrities and trash culture while catering to short attention spans. The good news is that they’re not alone and it does get better”!
“This bearded idealist from Indiana is the Real Deal: gritty, angry and concerned”. (The Times)
“This album puts Otis Gibbs into the same class as Dylan, but with an openness in his songs that few, if any, can match”. (Maverick)
“Otis Gibbs has the kind of hoarse Woodbine croak that has you clearing your throat in sympathy…there’s an authenticity and dedication in Gibbs’ delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity”. (The Independent)