Otis Gibbs’ latest release Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth has been in my rotation for about a week now and the Indiana native, East Nashville resident has crafted another fine album. For my money, Gibbs is one of the best songwriters out there today and this collection of songs may be his best effort yet! Gibbs’ songwriting talents rank right up there with the best, comparisons have been made to Woody Guthrie, TomT.Hall, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt. His story-songs tell tales of everyday life.
On Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth one of the best tracks is “Ghost of Our Fathers” in the song tells the story of a neighbor who was a bare knuckle boxing champion, but the toughest loss was that of his son who was killed in Vietnam. I love the simple chorus….
how to carry on, when the hardest punch is thrown,
take away the burden from our shoulders.
….”Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth” has been described as “his most pleasing, direct and artful work in 12 years of pleasing, direct and artful recording” by the Tennessean. In addition, songs like “‘The Darker Side of Me’ have received much acclaim… Alan Harrison of ‘No Depression’ comments that ‘If Johnny Cash was still alive today, I’m sure he would be the first in line to record ‘The Darker Side of Me’”
Billy Bragg included Gibbs’ song “The Peoples Day” in a list of “Top Five Songs with Something to Say”, published in the Wall Street Journal. Andy Gill of the The Independent wrote that there is a “authenticity and dedication in Gibbs’ delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity”
“When I was a kid growing up in Wanamaker (Ind.), my parents worked a couple different jobs apiece to make ends meet, and it would fall upon some of the strangest individuals to babysit me during the day. One of those people was my uncle. He probably wasn’t the best choice because he’d just gotten out of prison, and it turned out he wasn’t even my uncle after all; he was just shacking up with my aunt at the time.
But he would watch me and he got really bored, so he got this idea: He would take me down to this little honky-tonk saloon. He would sit me on top of the piano, and I would sing Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams songs while he accompanied me. The drunks in the bar would give me tip money to play whatever their request might be, and then my uncle would take that money and get drunk on it. That’s when I first learned how the music industry actually works.”[
So to see how a great songwriter works, check out Otis Gibbs’ Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth!!
Here’s the Official Video for “The Darker Side of Me”…and I think Alan Harrison is right, Johnny Cash would have loved this song!!
- Song Premiere: Otis Gibbs – “The Darker Side of Me” (engine145.com)