Gibbs was raised in Wanamaker, Indiana, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Indianapolis. He recalls being introduced to the music industry at an early age, when a friend of his aunt's that was supposed to be babysitting him would take him to a nearby saloon to earn money by singing while he played the piano.
Gibbs' songs feature stories about every day life. He has been compared to Woody Guthrie, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, and Townes Van Zandt. The website Saving Country Music describes him as Gibbs a "storyteller's storyteller" with an "independent spirit."
His most recent album, "Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth" has been described as "his most pleasing, direct and artful work" by The Tennessean. Alan Harrison of No Depression notes that "The Darker Side of Me" is the type of song that Johnny Cash would be interested in recording.
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 Independent wrote that there is a "authenticity and dedication in Gibbs' delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity".
Gibbs has recorded more than 100 podcasts under the title "Thanks for Giving a Damn" that consist of conversational interviews with musicians. Podcasts have included conversations with Mando Saenz, Ramsay Midwood, Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters), Marshall Crenshaw, Jim White, Delbert McClinton, and Amy Lashley. The podcast has been featured on iTunes' "New And Noteworthy" and "What's Hot" lists.
|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||Wanamaker|
- Matheson, Whitney (August 20, 2014). "Otis Gibbs: Man, can this singer tell a story ..." USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- Cornell, Rick (July 2, 2012). "Otis Gibbs: Interview Recap". Americana Music Show. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Joiner, James (13 August 2014). "Exclusive: Listen to Otis Gibbs's New Album". Esquire. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Lewis, Randy (12 January 2009). "Album review: Otis Gibbs' 'Grandpa Walked a Picketline'". Pop & Hiss The LA Times Music Blog. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- Lankford Jr, Ronnie. "One Day Our Whispers". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- Coroneos, Kyle "Trigger" (1 September 2014). "Otis Gibbs Shares His "Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth"". Saving Country Music. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Cooper, Peter (August 23, 2014). "Otis Gibbs remains East Nashville's unfiltered troubadour". The Tennessean. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Maclagan, Kirsty (9 May 2009). "Folk singer Otis Gibbs comes to West Coker". Yeovil Express. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- Jurgensen, John (30 May 2008). "Songs With Something to Say; Rocker Billy Bragg on His Favorite 'Message Music'". Wall Street Journal. p. W.2.
- Gill, Andy (28 May 2010). "Album: Otis Gibbs, Joe Hill's Ashes (Wanamaker)". The Independent. London. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- Gibbs, Otis (July 22, 2013). "Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth". Kickstarter. Retrieved 30 January 2014.