FRI. SEPT 20, 2019 – AN EVENING WITH SUSAN GIBSON /GUEST KEETON COFFMAN

  • By mrsmusic40
  • May 29, 2019
  • Comments Off on FRI. SEPT 20, 2019 – AN EVENING WITH SUSAN GIBSON /GUEST KEETON COFFMAN

SUSAN GIBSON

Anyone who meets singer-songwriter Susan Gibson will know immediately that her family is a core foundation in everything she does, from the songs she writes to the tour routes she takes.

Whether it’s hearing her stories from the stage at one of hundreds of live shows around the country each year, sitting in on a songwriting workshop or coaching session with her, or running into her on the street in your town while she’s walking her 5 dogs on a break from driving to the next show…you will hear Susan speak of her family.

It’s her mom, Nancy Gibson, who inspired the title track of Susan’s latest EP, “Remember Who You Are.”  Susan says, “My mom said that her mom always used to tell her and her sisters, “Remember who you are” every time they left the house.  I don’t know if that was before or after they got caught drinking beer with a bunch of their friends and gave fake names to the Crofton, Nebraska police, but it’s something that she always told me and my sister as soon as we were old enough to leave the house. I would find it in notes in my lunch and written halfway into journals that I hadn’t written in yet. She would write notes to us on banana peels with a toothpick and the words would turn brown– like reverse invisible ink. She was an awesome mom. We were lucky to have her as our constant.” Nancy is also the catalyst for another song on the EP, “The Best of You,” written about surviving cancer.  While Nancy lost her battle with lung cancer in 2013, Susan wrote it in honor of those who have fought cancer, be it the survivors themselves or the ones left behind.  “I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself, my mom would have wanted me to write this.”

To continue the thread of family and career in Gibson’s life, a song that Susan penned at her parents’ kitchen table while in college has been a cornerstone of her career as a performing musician and songwriter.  “Wide Open Spaces” was written as a college kid’s cry for independence, but after The Dixie Chicks made it the title track of their 1998 debut, Gibson’s song has been woven into the family stories of countless people setting off on their own, whether it’s going to college for the first time or adventuring into one of the many new roads life takes us on as we grow older.

One of Gibson’s roads lately taken her down a road that is once again influenced by her Mom, who was a beloved 3rd grade teacher in Amarillo, Texas.  Gibson has added songwriting workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to her schedule. She notes, “Being a performing songwriter is almost identical to being a teacher…you have an audience, you have a message and you have to hold their attention. And unlike teaching school, your success is determined by how many times they ‘take your class’. Moving into teaching from performance seems like a natural progression.”

“Remember Who You Are” is Gibson’s latest collection of songs and was recorded with producer Don Richmond at the helm at Howlin’ Dog Studios in Alamosa, Colorado.  Most of the instrumental heavy lifting was done by Gibson (vocals, guitar, banjo), and Richmond (guitars, banjos, mandolins, dobros, bass, violins, viola, organs, pedal steel, lap steel, percussion, and penny whistle), while James Doyle played drums and Maddie Clemmer sang background vocals.  The Amen Choir on “Little Piece of Heaven” features Drew Kennedy, Brandy Zdan, Josh Grider, and Walt Wilkins. This group, along with Kelley Mickwee and Gibson, are founding members of the Red River Songwriters’ Festival that takes place every January in Red River, NM (www.redriversongs.com).


With this new EP that resonates of community and family, Susan’s focus is now one that hits closer to home.  She plans to spend 2017 writing, recording, and playing shows around Texas that allow her to return to her family and roots as much as possible.   With her new EP in tow that is summed up by Gibson as “songs about the ache of loss and the balm of letting go,” her next chapter is sure to seed a whole new batch of songs

KEETON COFFMAN

Keeton Coffman is at his core, a songwriter. 

“From the moment Keeton Coffman took the stage, it was painfully obvious that this guy belongs in front of a crowd at all times” (Houston Press).  Heartland Rock and Roll perhaps best describes Coffman’s wide ranging style on his first full length album, Killer Eyes.  From the heel-stomping corner pub song “What We’re Reaching For” and the dancehall flavor of “Ellie” and “Killer Eyes” to the Gospel infused “The Mountain“, Keeton’s style of music evokes the small town Texas sound he grew up with, matched with the knuckle and grit of his true Rock and Roll soul.

The 11 track full length’s breadth is furthered by the stillness and melodic perfection found in folk based “The Race”, “Promise” and “The Memory” – tunes that quickly show us Coffman’s love for the great sonic storytellers (Springsteen, Petty, Fleetwood Mac) and his life-long quest to follow in their footsteps.

A seasoned performer, comfortable in his own skin and with the invisible scars of a blue collar songwriter, Coffman lives and breathes his music.  Songwriting is and has always been his outlet and it serves him well.  “As a songwriter, the greatest blessing is that people find themselves in your songs.  That’s what this record is about.  It’s really for them, “says Coffman.

Keeton’s brand new full-length album, Killer Eyes will be released September 2nd after fan favorite, “The Mountain” single debuts on July 15th, supported by a series of stripped down acoustic videos.  A big supporter of DIY recording and production, Keeton has nonetheless upped his game with this professional studio production (recorded at Sound Arts / Golden Gnome Studios in Houston) hiring on longtime friend and former band mate, Ryan Cecil, to produce and mix the record.  

You hear at once Coffman’s lifelong influences, from Bruce Springsteen to The Wallflowers, but a closer listen reveals his love for Motown sonics and the Phil Spector Wall Of Sound.  Many will liken his music to more current personal favorites, Dwight Yoakam, Foy Vance, Ryan Adams and Texas native David Ramirez.  

Keeton Coffman’s career has not been typical.  Keeton made the painful decision to dissolve his band of 6 years, The 71’s, at the end of 2012 to explore songwriting on his terms.  The breakup of the band was hard on Coffman, professionally and personally.  The 71’s had just put out their most successful album to date (We Are The Seventy Ones) and the hard won Houston crowd was taking notice.  “Breaking up the band was a divorce.  It was painful, messy and emotional.  It left many scars, but made some great songs”.  Coffman wrote over fifty songs in eighteen months and released several DIY EPs along the way.  (Stumble On Love, The Ghost, 4 Tracks, Cover The Cost).  Eleven of these songs have been tediously tweaked to perfection by Keeton and lead guitarist and producer, Ryan Cecil over the last eighteen months and designated for the full-length Killer Eyes record.  

Over the next year, Coffman will tour regionally to support the album and is looking forward to getting back on the road with his new band.  You’ll find him at house shows and concert halls across Texas, and every venue in between, guitar in hand and piano nearby.

Categories: Shows

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