Otis Gibbs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Otis Gibbs
Otis Gibbs Photo.jpg
Otis Gibbs
Background information
Origin Wanamaker, Indiana
Genres Folk music
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 2002-present
Labels Wanamaker
Flat Earth
Website otisgibbs.com
Members Thomm Jutz
Mark Fain
Paul Griffith
Amy Lashley

Otis Gibbs is an American singer-songwriter, photographer, and podcaster who has independently self-released records outside the traditional record industry.


Gibbs was raised in Wanamaker, Indiana, a town outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a great songwriter as well as storyteller and related this story of his first gig to USA Today..

"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."[1]

Gibbs also worked for over 10 years as a tree planter in Indiana. He estimated that he has "planted 7,176 trees" throughout his life.[2]

Music career[edit]

SXSW 2009: Jovita's, Austin, TX
March 21, 2009 (Twangfest party)

Gibbs' songs feature stories about every day life and he has gained quite a reputation as a songwriter/storyteller. He has been compared to Woody Guthrie, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, and Townes Van Zandt.[3][4] Gibbs is also noted as "a storyteller’s storyteller" who "symbolizes the true essence of the independent spirit thriving in the East Nashville neighborhood he calls home." [5]

His most recent album, "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’"[6]

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.[7][8] Andy Gill of the The Independent wrote that there is a "authenticity and dedication in Gibbs' delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity".[9]

Gibbs tours Europe and the UK regularly.


Year Title Label
2002 49th and Melancholy Flat Earth Records
2003 Once I Dreamed of Christmas Benchmark
2004 One Day Our Whispers Benchmark
2008 Grandpa Walked a Picketline Wanamaker
2010 Joe Hill's Ashes Wanamaker
2012 Harder Than Hammered Hell Wanamaker
2014 Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth[10] Wanamaker

Other activities[edit]

Gibbs has recorded nearly 100 podcasts under the tile “Thanks for Giving a Damn” that consists of conversational interviews with those who write, sing and play for a living. Some of the more notable names he has spoken with are Mando Saenz, Ramsey Midwood, Dilbert McClinton, and Amy Lashley. Gibbs describes it as "a show that features your favorite musicians sharing road stories, tall tales and vague recollections. There’s no music, just lighthearted conversations." The podcast has been featured on iTunes’ “New And Noteworthy” and “What’s Hot” lists.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Gibbs currently lives in East Nashville, Tennessee with his long time partner Amy Lashley, a singer-songwriter and children's book author. Both Indiana natives, they settled in East Nashville in 2007 and live a quiet life with Iris the Dog and Baby Kitty. Their neighborhood in East Nashville is full of musicians and bands.[11]


  1. ^ Matheson, Whitney (August 20, 2014). "Otis Gibbs: Man, can this singer tell a story ...". USA Today. Retrieved 4 September 104. 
  2. ^ Joiner, James (13 August 2014). "Exclusive: Listen to Otis Gibbs's New Album". Esquire. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Randy (12 January 2009). "Album review: Otis Gibbs' 'Grandpa Walked a Picketline'". Pop & Hiss The LA Times Music Blog. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Lankford Jr, Ronnie. "One Day Our Whispers". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Coroneos, Kyle "Trigger" (1 September 2014). "Otis Gibbs Shares His "Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth"". Saving Country Music. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Cooper, Peter (August 23, 2014). "Otis Gibbs remains East Nashville's unfiltered troubadour". The Tennessean. Retrieved 4 September 104. 
  7. ^ Maclagan, Kirsty (9 May 2009). "Folk singer Otis Gibbs comes to West Coker". Yeovil Express. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Jurgensen, John (30 May 2008). "Songs With Something to Say; Rocker Billy Bragg on His Favorite 'Message Music'". Wall Street Journal. p. W.2. 
  9. ^ Gill, Andy (28 May 2010). "Album: Otis Gibbs, Joe Hill's Ashes (Wanamaker)". The Independent (London). Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Gibbs, Otis (Project date: Jul 22, 2013 - Aug 22, 2013). "Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth". Kickstarter. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Cornell, Rick (July 2, 2012). "Otis Gibbs: Interview Recap". Americana Music Show. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 

External links[edit]