When Richmond native Drew Gibson released his debut album Letterbox in 2007, the singer/songwriter quickly developed a strong local following, with songs that harkened back to American days of country-blues and songwriters of yesteryear.
By 2015, now living in Sterling, VA, Gibson came out with the critically acclaimed 1532, his third album, one that had a theme of family. Dedicated to his dad, who passed away a few years prior, the recording included tales of Gibson’s family beginning with its roots in Scotland.
After the success of his first concept album, Gibson returned to the format for his latest release, Shipbuilder, which came out in 2019, and carries a theme of water throughout.
“I felt that having a concept drew people in to my prior record, and it made it more special to have a theme,” he says. “As successful as that record was, I was really worried about how to follow that up because it was so personal. Over the course of time, I developed the theme about water metaphorically talking about the ups and downs of life.”
He considers Shipbuilder his best work to date and is happy his fans are enjoying it just as much as 1532.
On January 5, Gibson will be performing a free show at Pearl Street Warehouse located on DC’s District Wharf, one of his favorite venues.
“It’s a full band show and we’ll be playing stuff across all four of my records,” Gibson says. “It will be a little less emphasis on just the new one, and really spanning equally among all four.”
Playing live is always an exciting time for the singer, and he’s happy to be kicking off the new year with this intimate show at a time when the band is at the best it’s ever been.
“Instrumentally, we can all breathe a little bit with expansion of solos and the night is going to be a lot of fun,” he says. “These are some of the best musicians in not only DC, but even on the entire coast.”
Gibson knew at a young age that he wanted to be a musician. Although he wasn’t a fan of his four years of piano lessons, once he found a guitar in his home, he taught himself how to play and started a band with friends.
“As you start to feel good about something, it breathes your drive to do it,” he says. “I started writing songs and went out solo in college. Throughout my life, I had mini-successes that have kept me going, and I feel blessed that people are enjoying my albums and I get good reviews.”
Being heard wasn’t always easy. Although it was easy to get songs online, because so many others are doing that as well, attracting a following took some time. Gibson built that up by playing live shows – mostly in the DMV at places like Jammin Java, the Birchmere and of course, Pearl Street.
In 2020, Gibson hopes to release a live recording and will continue touring and playing throughout the area.
“Being on stage is one of the most enjoyable things I can do – you just get that chill,” Gibson says. “I get it from feeding off of other guys in the band and hearing how they attack a solo. And I love communicating with an audience. I just enjoy sharing my music.”
Drew Gibson will perform at Pearl Street Warehouse at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 5. Admission is free. For more information about the artist, click here.
Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; 202-380-9620; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com