Cindy Gibbs’ forthcoming album showcases powerhouse talent
A few weeks ago I was assigned to write a cover story for The Pulse. It wasn’t my first, but it was the first time I had been given free rein to write about whatever I chose and I have to admit, I liked it. A lot. So I sat down and typed up fifteen hundred words or so that, while making some good points and a few humorous asides, could rightfully be summed up as “stop complaining and go play music!”
I’d like to think I was at least a little more eloquent and the subject matter a bit more complex, but that is the gist of it and I expected some serious negative feedback. To the contrary, not only has the feedback been generally positive, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a number of up-and-coming musicians, bands, and solo artists because of it. Which means that for the next several weeks (at least) you’ll be reading about names you likely haven’t heard yet.
This week I’d like to tell you about Cindy Gibbs.
A Tennessee native, Ms. Gibbs grew up in a musical family. She was singing harmony by the age of three, started performing at the age of seven, and by fourteen she laid down tracks on her first pro recording in Nashville. She eventually found work in a local recording studio as a backup singer and went on to pursue a degree in Music Education at the University of Tennessee before heading out to Los Angeles to write, produce and record her own material, primarily Christian and Country.
Eventually Cindy came back to Chattanooga, which brings us to the present day and a series of recordings that are as sweet and melodious as anything that ever came out of the golden age of Nashville. Cindy now performs as a solo vocalist accompanied by the rock solid guitar playing of Bob Turner. She gave me a handful of tunes to review and, as is my habit, before I read the first word of any bio, website or press kit, I simply listened.
Talk about gobsmacked! My immediate impression was that, while she might sing a whole step or two lower, Cindy’s voice shares some remarkable similarities with Dolly Parton. That’s powerful stuff in my book and I’m not ashamed to say that at the tender age of two and a half, Dolly’s voice made her my first crush (and made Porter Wagner a hated rival).
Of course that was my first impression, listening to “Silver Locket,” a beautiful little tune that is as lyrically similar to Dolly as Gibbs’ vocals. Once the next tune cued up, it was clear that Cindy Gibbs sings like Cindy Gibbs—which means she can sound like Dolly when the song calls for it, and like Eva Cassidy (one of her influences, along with Allison Krauss, Norah Jones and Emmylou Harris) when that seems appropriate.
Gibbs slides effortlessly between styles and her voice rings with bell-like clarity and a purity of tone that never came from any studio effects, but rather is the result of a lifetime of dedication to singing and performing.
The eerily plaintive “Fire in My Soul”, similar in tone to “Jolene”, ought to already be at the top of the country charts being several orders of magnitude better than the material currently residing there. Her performance on this song combines the soulfulness of classic country with excellent modern pop sensibilities to create what should easily be a radio-ready hit.
On “Forever and Always,” Gibbs seems to channel her inner Reba McEntire which raises an important point. Ms. Gibbs shares vocal qualities with a handful of the most beloved singers in country music, not as a matter of imitation but as a matter of sincerely having been raised in the genre (and in the related genres of the artists as far as gospel music is concerned.) She doesn’t sound like them because she’s trying to, she shares similarities because she comes from the same places.
There is authenticity here, pure and simple and if she could add a little Linda Ronstadt to the mix, this lady could re-record the entirety of the Trio album all by herself.
Cindy will be releasing an LP, Overtaken, on August 5th via iTunes, and if the songs I’ve sampled are any indication, it will be an album of stunning vocals, sweet lyrics and absolutely top notch professionalism.
Having played in venues across the country, from small festivals to huge stadiums and everything in between, Cindy Gibbs is looking to make a name for herself locally and I have NO DOUBT that it won’t take long. A year from now you’ll be hearing her at such Chattanooga institutions as Riverbend and Nightfall. Just remember you read it here first.
For more about Cindy and to hear her tunes yourself, visit cindygibbsmusic.com