MUSIC NEWS
Texas singer-songwriter is walking ‘TightRope'
04/01/2011

from The Oklahoman on newsok.com

During her college days in Missoula, Mont., the Texas singer-songwriter penned the soaring anthem that years later became the title track to the Dixie Chicks' 1998 major-label debut. The smash hit perched at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts for four weeks, won the Country Music Association's single of the year award and became one of the biggest selling singles in the format's history.

For Gibson, “Wide Open Spaces” has been that “foundation of stone” for building her musical dream.

“I have this little calling card that sticks in people's brains ... and the fact that someone will give me 36 brain cells to remember I wrote ‘Wide Open Spaces,' that's pretty awesome,” she said during a phone interview from her home state, where the self-proclaimed “road dog” was touring.

“And I hope it is a keyhole into the rest of my career as a songwriter ... to get them in the door.”

Nowadays, the Amarillo native is taking a long-awaited walk with “TightRope,” her fourth indie album. It was released on Valentine's Day, the anniversary of a severe car accident that nearly wrecked her 14-year Americana career.

Her traveling CD celebration comes to Oklahoma City's Blue Door tonight, and Gibson promises a “dang good live show.”

“I love playing in rooms where I can see everybody that's there. It makes it a lot easier to tell the stories, and that's a lot of the show, I think, is the stories and just the acknowledgment that we're all there having a shared experience. I don't have flashing lights or pyrotechnics or, you know, release doves into the audience or anything.”

Only two musicians

Gibson and producer/guitarist Gabe Rhodes are the only musicians on “TightRope,” and they took the approach of “instead of going for the Glamour Shot makeover, just put on a clean shirt and wipe that schmutz off your face.”

“Our intention was to make a record that kind of held up with my live shows, which so many of my live shows are solo. And so many of my previous recordings are full band (with) twin electric guitar, fiddle, piano,” she said.

According to the “TightRope” credits, she provided the “acoustic guitar, vocals, heavy breathing,” while Rhodes played “acoustic, bass, 12-string & slide guitars, pump organ, melodica, banjo, mandolin, percussion, piano, chair squeaks, fingernails, leather jacket, thunder stick, slinky, cigar box (not all on the same song, of course).”

“He's one of those guys that really anything you put in his hands is liable to become an instrument. So one of the cool things about recording with him was, you know, he plays a grand piano on some of those tracks, but he's not playing the keys of the pianos, he's plucking the string ... with the lid of the grand piano open,” she said.

“He's just this super-creative guy ... who creates all these instruments and then plays exactly what the song calls for, and it's really refreshing.”

Giving back

Work on “TightRope” was almost complete in January 2010, and Gibson was preparing a spring tour to tout the album when she wrecked her car and nearly her career. She was driving from Austin to her home in nearby Wimberley on Valentine's Day, and while trying to merge onto the highway, she accidentally got off the access road and into the U-turn lane. She hit the curb, overcorrected, slammed into a cement culvert and got her arm caught in the steering wheel.

She broke her arm in three places, smashed her wrist, dislocated her elbow and destroyed her car.

Although doctors predicted her recovery would take six months, she was back to music making by May, thanks to a lot of physical therapy, skilled caregivers, good luck and the grace of God.

Like most musicians, Gibson doesn't have medical insurance, but she received financial assistance from MusiCares. Now she's donating part of the proceeds from “TightRope” sales to the nonprofit that provides a safety net of assistance for music people in times of need.

“It's not a lot, but it's important to pay it forward, ... and in this case

(read full story on newsok.com)





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