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The word “troubadour” is thrown around a lot these days, but music fans need look no further than Texas’ own Susan Gibson for an example of that word in action, or rather, in motion. Gibson never stops; she puts 60,000+ miles a year on her Sprinter van touring all over the country. From playing listening rooms and festivals to teaching songwriter classes and workshops, this award-winning singer/songwriter defines poetry in motion.
Gibson is celebrating 10 years as a solo touring and recording artist with the release of “The Second Hand,” a live album recorded at The Bugle Boy in La Grange, one of the Texas’ most highly lauded listening rooms. On “The Second Hand,” the CMA award-winning songwriter (the Dixie Chicks took the Gibson-penned “Wide Open Spaces” to the top for four weeks) manages to capture a high energy show while also sharing a very personal, poignant side with her audience. Gibson handpicked some of her favorite musicians for the recording; she is joined by Billy Masters on guitar, David Carroll on upright bass, and Ray Rodriguez on drums and percussion.
Minnesota born but mostly Texas raised (her father worked for the railroad), Susan went to college in Texas and Montana where she started in the open mic scene. She jumped into the Texas touring circuit when she joined The Groobees in Amarillo in 1996, and they recorded 4 well received albums before splitting up in 2002. Not one to lose momentum, Gibson hit the road in 2003 with “Chin Up,” her first solo record, and hasn’t slowed down since. “The Second Hand” is her 5th release, and she’s collected honors along the way like BMI’s “Songwriter of the Year” and “Entertainer of the Year” from the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. In 2013 she was honored to play at the Texas State Society’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.
When the thought of recording a live album came up, The Bugle Boy quickly rose to the top of the list of venue choices. An intimate room located between Austin and Houston, they have built a reputation as one of the foremost listening rooms in the state if not the country. Making a live album requires an enthusiastic and tuned in audience, and The Bugle Boy delivered in spades.
Always one for a surprise, Gibson added a twist at the end of the live album. 2003’s “Chin Up” album had the title song as a hidden track, a mellow banjo-fied version of her song about failing the Presidential Fitness Test. In a nod to that track, the last song on The Second Hand is an energized studio version of “Chin Up” produced by Daniel Barrett at Rubicon Recording in Austin, featuring Barrett on guitars, Jack Saunders on bass, Rick Richards on drums, and Derek Morris on piano. This new version bookends an impressive 10 years of touring and recording and sets the tone for Gibson’s next 10 and beyond. Susan will spend 2014 touring in support of this album, teaching songwriting and creativity workshops, and walking her loyal pack of 3 dogs and a chihuahua.