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An interview with guitarist Mark Monroe Gibson

Mark Monroe Gibson playing guitar.
Mark Monroe Gibson
Mark Monroe Gibson playing guitar.

Mark Monroe Gibson is a singer-songwriter based in Southwest Colorado. His newest album showcases his unique blend of music and storytelling. In this interview, we'll explore Gibson's background, his creative process, and get a sneak peek into his upcoming listening room event at the ZU Gallery in Cortez. Gibson recently sat down with KSJD’s LP McKay to talk about what to expect.

LP McKay 0:00

In his newest album, "Hosea's Hand," Gibson takes listeners on a journey through his roots and experiences, weaving together themes of love, loss and redemption. In this interview, we'll explore Gibson's creative process, delve into his musical influences and get a sneak peek into what to expect from his upcoming listening room event at the ZU Gallery in Cortez, we started by talking a bit about his background.

Mark Monroe Gibson 0:23

I grew up down south. I was born in a little town called Stone Mountain, Georgia outside of Atlanta, you know, there was always music in our house, my dad was a voracious listener to music. I mean, everything from classic country to blues to old rock and roll. So I mean, I just grew up on a steady diet of that. And just always, it was just always there. And I think from the time I was really young, I wanted to play…I tried saxophone, unsuccessfully. Then finally in high school, a youth minister at a youth group decided I was going to be the guitar player. And he taught me to play about three chords on a guitar and I was hooked.

LP McKay 1:02

That was it, huh?

Mark Monroe Gibson 1:02

That was it.

LP McKay 1:03

He ended up practicing law for over a decade before the high desert of the Southwest eventually came calling.

Mark Monroe Gibson 1:09

I grew up down south spent my whole life there and I always hated the humidity. There's nothing worse than just being sticky your whole life.

LP McKay 1:18

Other than environmental factors, Gibson found himself wanting something different than what the South had had to offer him.

Mark Monroe Gibson 1:25

I started coming out to the this corner of Colorado in 2002, I think was the first time I made it out here and every summer I'd been back between Telluride in here and around so when I got the chance to leave the South. Finally, I got here about as fast as I could.

LP McKay 1:41

But Gibson sticks close to his southern roots musically, his newest album blends together the music he was drawn to all his life from quiet acoustic songs where Gibson's voice is the emotional center to full instrumentation on the album's more lively tracks.

Mark Monroe Gibson 1:56

The songs just kind of lend them you kind of find out when you get into the studio, you know, I try to keep it as stripped down as possible. That's where I'm most comfortable. It's just me and the guitar, or me and one other instrumentalists along with it. I feel like that lets me open up and get everything across. But there are times when you just need all that other stuff because it makes it so much more fun. I tried I think earlier on when I was recording albums before, we had a tendency to put too much on everything. And I think we got a little bit better balance here. stripping it back to to letting it be where it needs to be.

LP McKay 2:35

The title track "Hosea's Hand" is a great moment of storytelling on the album and brings the listener into how impactful the civil rights movement was on a young Gibson

Mark Monroe Gibson 2:45

That actually started Stone Mountain was an interesting place. That's where the Klu Klux Klan was refounded. And about 1920 something. So it's also where they took the largest piece of granite in the in the entire world and carved the Confederate Memorial on the face of a mountain. So it was a really interesting place to grow up. It was not unusual to see a Klan rally on the weekends around that community. And one of the local politicians in DeKalb County where that was was Hosea Williams, who was one of Martin Luther King's lieutenants in the civil rights movement. And he came and spoke to my high school government class my senior year in high school. And it was probably the most impactful thing I've ever learned in a classroom. It started it was during Black History Month. And it was when I was living up in Eagle. And I just happened to turn on the TV one morning to check the weather. And there was a Black History Month commercial one of those public announcement and there was a picture of Hosea on there and it just brought that back very vividly into my head. And I skipped my job my day work in that day and stayed home and wrote that song.

LP McKay 4:00

Gibson's upcoming show with the ZU Gallery will feature a mix of music and storytelling,

Mark Monroe Gibson 4:05

The first half of the show will do the album in its entirety from start to finish. I'll just play it in order, which is going to be interesting to do. I haven't done that. done that yet. Other than in rehearsal. So to see at the second half, we'll just do a bunch of other music that's been around in the in the catalog for a while.

LP McKay 4:28

Some more familiar tunes...

Mark Monroe Gibson 4:29

Well, it'll be mostly other work of mine and there'll be one or two. I wish sprinkling a couple of couple of covers that are… that are meaningful.

Mark will be playing at the ZU Gallery in Cortez on May 19th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can find more information on the show at z-u-gallery [dot] com.

LP recently moved to Mancos from Austin, Texas, where they worked as a Case Manager for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and in HOA property management where they were fortunate to learn many different styles of communication and creative thinking/problem solving. In their time away from work, they watch a ton of movies (spanning all decades, nationalities, and genres), and tries to listen to one really good album every day.