This Week: Ferrill Gibbs


Ferrill Gibbs started his musical journey with guitar lessons in Mobile, Alabama. He continued to practice and play music as he went to the college town of Auburn. His musical career began to take off when he spent some time in the musical mecca of Athens, GA. Throughout the years, his career has morphed primarily into a studio songwriter, writing all but two of the songs that he has recorded and performed. On April 6, Gibbs will perform at Birmingham’s own listening room, Moonlight on the Mountain.

Gibbs’ musical influences span a wide range of both lyrically-focused songwriters and instrumentally proficient jam bands. “They’re varied,” he says. “I would say Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic in my formative years, and more recent influences have been Radiohead and Wilco. Currently I’m on a Billy Joel and Van Morrison kick. (I’ve been doing a bit of singing for a few of my good friends’ weddings.)”

With those influences, Gibbs’ music can be described as pop (Ingrid Felts, who is opening for Gibbs on April 6, thinks so). There is a heavy presence of what some call the singer/songwriter feel, but infused with the background instruments, listeners can hear elements of The Beatles, Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac.

His career goals for the future are simply to enjoy it and to improve at songwriting. “When I can no longer improve, I move on to something else,” he says. He has plans to record this summer with his longtime producer, Tom Lewis, at a beach house in Apalachicola.

According to Gibbs, the upcoming show on April 6, will be a special show. It will be the first time he has performed his own music at a live venue with a backing band in several years. Besides that, the bandmates are special too. “They’re all extremely talented musicians and not one of them knows the other, so how’s that for different?!” says Gibbs. “It will be like pouring five different liquids into one beaker and then shaking it to see what comes out… in front of a live audience. With these players, I’m expecting alchemy.”

For the show at Moonlight On The Mountain, Gibbs has assembled friends and family to play with him. These include Brent Busby, a sound designer and composer for Adult Swim on The Cartoon Network; Jeanette Hightower, Gibbs’ cousin from Birmingham who’s played for Matthew Mayfield and Great Book of John; Ansley Stewart, an Atlanta singer/songwriter who has worked with the likes of Camper Van Beethoven and Ansley Stewart and The Replacements; and Birmingham’s Ingrid Felts, the multi-instrumentalist and poet.

The audience can expect to hear a mashup of music. Songs will resemble some rock greats, from flashy ones like Zeppelin, ACDC and Guns N’ Roses to more contemplative ones like Radiohead and Wilco. “It was always the rock in the marrow of those bands that caught my ear,” says Gibbs. “I’ve been sponging from those since I was ten, but one day I suppose I ripped off the last disguise and let my somewhat broken voice be just that: mine. I would be this singer, and not those singers, and though there’s a vulnerability in that, there’s also freedom.”

Macey Sims: Do you have a favorite lyric that you have written? 

Ferrill Gibbs: Yes.

“When the rains come down and they raise in the streets
and the world all around is a raging sea
well that thundering sound that you hear will be me
crying out to the clouds, “If we sink, we will breathe.” – Wind In My Soul

MS: In Birmingham, we have a really great food culture. If your music was perfectly paired with a delicious meal and cocktail, what would be on the menu? 

FG: You ask I compare my own music to a fine meal? No way, haha! Better off asking a cook what he thinks of his own voice on an answering machine! Guess I’m more of a Ribeye and beer guy than anything else.

Gibbs is excited to play for the folks at Moonlight On The Mountain. “I’ve heard the audience there is enthusiastic about new music – that they come in droves to hear it and listen intently. There’s no better place to play than for receptive people who really want to hear your music.”

The show is on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30. Cover is $12 at the door. Moonlight on the Mountain is located at 585 Shades Crest Rd, Birmingham, AL 35226.

For more info on Ferrill Gibbs, check out his website.