Laurie Gibson - MHoF's musicians' musician
By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier
Anytime, anywhere Laurie Gibson takes the stage, audiences always appreciate her musical prowess, but they wait for, expect and even demand to hear one particular song.
"Orange Blossom Special," Gibson smiled, adding, "I guess I'll have to play it at the award ceremony," referencing her win as the 2012 Bandera Music Hall of Fame Musician of the Year. Does she get tired of it? "No," she insisted. "It makes people so darn happy and I rewrote it to suit me." That's the musician speaking.
"We grew up with music," Gibson said of her childhood in Kingsville. At the insistence of their parents, she and two sisters, Sallie and DeeDee, and brother Scott, took classical music lessons. Her mother and grandmother were singers, and grandfather Lawrence Loter and Uncle Gus Loter played the fiddle. "Jam sessions at our grandparents' place went on all weekend long. We'd fall asleep hearing them playing on into the night," Gibson recalled.
She and her sisters entered fiddle contests through their teens. Roy Acuff heard them at Nashville 's Grandmasters' Fiddler' Contest and wanted to promote them as a trio. "Our father said, 'No.' He was very protective. That was my one brush with Nashville," Gibson said.
In college at A&I - now A&M - in Kingsville, she majored in classical piano. Later, Gibson worked eight years as a professional musician in Albuquerque, New Mexico; played Las Vegas at the Alladin; toured with USO shows and with Junior Brown. Gibson even sat in with Conway Twitty when he performed in Kingsville in 1972. "My dad went up and promoted me," she said.
These days, as the Gibson Sisters, she plays with sister Sallie, with whom she was named Duo-Group winner in 2010; Gary Wright, a 2006 Bandera Music HoF award recipient; and as a pick-up player with The Almost Patsy Cline Band, a 2011 hall of fame winner. She can be found performing at venues all around Bandera, including the Mayan Dude Ranch, Williams Creek Depot, the Shoe Biz Fashion Show and, of course, at the Silver Dollar, the music hall of fame 2012 Legendary Venue recipient.
Last May, Gibson was featured on keyboard at the Hall of Fame Musical Showcase. She also plays guitar and what Gibson plays is every bit as varied as instrument choices.
"Our music is hard to define," she said. "We were exposed to all kinds of music." Aside from family, Gibson credits, "Big band and swing music, The Platters, The Beatles, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb," as strong influences. "I listen to hundreds of hours of all kinds of music," she admitted.
Additionally, Gibson has written and arranged her own music since she was a kid, which brings us back to that moment when she picks up the fiddle and her audience knows what's coming - the Gibson version of Orange Blossom Special. It's unique, it's wild, it's wooly and, of course, it's very special.
Everyone is invited to come out and hear for themselves when Laurie Gibson joins fellow Bandera Music Hall of Famers at 3 pm, Sunday, Oct. 21, on the informal stage behind the Bandera County Public Library.
Pictured: Photo by Ken Lane
Bandera Music Hall of Fame Musician of the Year Laurie Gibson
Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Fiddler extraordinaireLaurie Gibson performing at a previous induction ceremony