Otis Gibbs (from the album Mount Renraw)

A small group celebrated Otis Gibbs’ birthday. Gathered with Otis in his living room were producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz and fiddler Justin Moses, and together the three recorded the latest Otis Gibbs release, Mount Renraw, in one day. The title comes from the nickname Otis has given the East Nashville home he shares with his partner, Amy Lashley. Mount Renraw is decorated with artwork from Otis and the stories he has collected from his years of traveling. He opens an audio scrapbook with “Great American Roadside” to show the spots that he has stopped, drives “800 Miles” searching for the Thunderbird train as he hears someone mention “Kathleen” and is transported back to 1993. Like the original troubadours, Otis Gibbs is a traveler, sharing what his eyes have taken in through words and music.

The fate of “Bison” is told as Otis Gibbs follows bands of Cherokee Indians from ‘south of the Cumberland Gap to the Great Lake and beyond’. Mount Renraw tells tales in song as the album opens with “Ed’s Blues (Survival)”, heads down to Memphis for the story of “Sputnik Monroe”, asks “Lucy Parsons” to hold the hand of a man fading fast, and quietly strums “Blues for Diablo” as the tune travels with the devil in the passenger seat of memories. Otis Gibbs voice commands as his songs plant their flag in Mount Renraw with visions of a Indiana child remembering his father in “Empire Hole” and takes lessons learned into the life reflected in the headlights of “Wide Awake”.

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