Barry Gibb is remembered by some as the driving force behind “Stayin’ Alive” and the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack that dominated the music charts in the mid-70s. Barry Gibb and his brothers, Robin and Maurice, almost single-handedly sparked the disco era, some would say. By the time the Bee Gees surged in that American success, however, the trio of brothers had already created a monster hits in their Australian homeland. Their sound was far more multidimensional than the high-pitched, synchronized notes that no other human singer could duplicate in their dance song catalog.
Country music fans have to credit Barry Gibb for one of the most timeless and cherished ballads of all time. The singer, songwriter, and producer who cultivated the signature sound of the blended voices with his brothers sold over 200 million albums worldwide, and his new project has Barry Gibb overflowing with excitement. Keith Urban, Jason Isbell, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, and Little Big Town are just some of the stellar talents teaming with Gibb for an album of country covers, per Billboard and Variety via MSN.
Greenfields: The Brothers Gibb Songbook Vol. 1 will surprise some. For others, it will be a reminiscent trip through some fond musical refrains with new friends. Either way, it’s lovely listening and Barry Gibb is grateful for the experience.
‘Words Of A Fool’ is a wonderful starter from Jason Isbell and Barry Gibb
Jason Isbell has music running through his veins, and the four-time Grammy winner knows a good song, right down to the wood and strings of a classic guitar. Barry Gibb wrote the song, “Words Of A Fool” for his own solo project that got put on hold. Under the guidance of Isbell’s longtime producer, Dave Cobb, the soulful, blues-tinged riffs and heartfelt trade-offs of the verses sound as though they were destined for these two artists alone.
In an introduction video for the project, Barry Gibb talks about his beginnings in music with his brothers, speaking of how it was “before there were genres.” The musician relates how he and his siblings would walk for miles through fields to go to school. The idyllic settings planted the idea within Gibb that “you have to see” a country song even more than feel it. “Words Of A Fool” certainly has the mood of a “Christian confession” as the artist proclaims in the song. It is a come to church lost-love statement that rings true in the soul.
Grateful is the word for Barry Gibb
“I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work with Dave and the artists who stopped by,” Barry Gibb gushes. He describes that every artist involved was “incredibly generous” with their time and talent, and the heartfelt hugs between Barry and his old friends show the lasting bonds that still remain. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers transformed “Islands in the Stream” into a certified megahit for the composer and themselves. On this collection, Dolly Parton puts her heart and soul into the Bee Gees’ classic, “Words,” winning a gentle hug and kiss from Barry in the video.
Keith Urban takes on “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” while Little Big Town handles the early days’ Bee Gees tune, “Lonely Days” with mournful vigor.
Alison Krauss does the lesser-known gem, “Too Much Heaven,” and Miranda Lambert is more than up to the task in “Jive Talkin’’ with country flair. Sheryl Crow offers another rendition of a beautiful classic, “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart.” Aussie sister in song, Olivia Newton-John, and Brandi Carlile can’t be missed, either.
Gibb’s glowing praise of the project that unfolded in RCA’s studio in Nashville was more than reciprocated by Isbell, who not only deems the Bee Gee leader as “one of the greatest singers and songwriters in popular music history,“ adding that Gibb has “a magical sense of melody,” he also credits the experience as “one of the great honors of my career.” “He’s a prince,” Jason insists.
Barry Gibb felt his late brothers’ presence in the project
As beloved and celebrated at the Brothers Gibb were in their worldwide success, Barry Gibb also knows the ultimate pain of parting in life. Maurice Gibb passed suddenly in 2003 from sudden cardiac arrest. He was only 53. Lovingly called “Morris” by his brothers in their native dialect, they declared that there could never be the Bee Gees again.
Tragedy came again in the spring of 2012 when Robin Gibb succumbed to health complications from liver cancer, colon cancer, and intestinal surgery. He was 62. Barry Gibb spoke poignantly about the final moments at his brother’s hospital bed.
“I feel deep down that Maurice and Robin would have loved this album, for different reasons,” the now 74 -year-old Barry Gibb says. “I wish we could have all been together to do it… But I think we were.”
The nostalgia of the Bee Gees’ talent and song-craft comes through on Greenfields: The Brothers Gibb Songbook Vol. 1, and the musical legacy of Barry Gibb and his siblings couldn’t be in better country music hands or hearts. The album releases January 8 on Capitol.