REVIEW: Drew Gibson Masters Mood on ‘Shipbuilder’


Whether it’s with arrangements, lyrics, vocal delivery, or subject matter, some musicians simply know how to set a mood with their music. On the new album Shipbuilder, Drew Gibson shows that he is one of them.

The album kicks off with “I didn’t Mean To Break Your Heart with the Steel Guitar”. It’s hard not to notice the pedal steel guitar played by Dave Hadley in this one. The sound is distorted to the point that it’s almost not recognizable as a steel guitar and the bent notes really give some texture to the song. The backing vocals by Devon Sproule also add something special.

The guitar picking intro of “Everything I Ever Did Was Wrong” is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel. As the song progresses, the acoustic guitar picking sounds more like a cowboy song. While the title might lead you to believe that this is about a troubled relationship, it is in fact a love song and a beautiful one at that. On the chorus, Gibson is joined by Sproule, who sings along with him, “Before you, everything I ever did was wrong.”

Something about “Waitress” is reminiscent of Tom Waits. Perhaps it’s the realism of the story when you hear the narrator said, “You got the name and number of that waitress.” You kind of feel like you’re watching through the window of a diner as the scene unfolds. The spare instrumentation also brings Waits to mind while the backing vocals are similar to what you would hear in a Rolling Stones tune. Meanwhile, the pedal steel brings some lonesome twang to the song.

Gibson is a talented songwriter whether he’s doing an alt-country song like the opener or a mellow tune on acoustic guitar like “In a Fire”. This is a muted song that brings Kris Kristofferson to mind with breathy vocals that are spoken as much as sung. Gibson did a really good job of arranging this song. There is enough space between the notes that you hear and feel every one.

This is an impressive album. Gibson shows that he knows how to create a mood with his music. He knows when to turn up the volume and string a lot of notes together in a short time and when to dial it back by creating some space in the sound. Shipbuilder was released on April 22 and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.


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