Barry Gibb has teamed up with some of the world’s biggest stars in country, bluegrass and Americana music on the new album Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1.
The 12-track record sees some of the Bee Gees’ biggest hits Gibb made with his late brothers, Maurice and Robin, re-imagined as country duets. Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town help bring a country twang to Jive Talking, Words, How Deep Is Your Love, To Love Somebody and I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You.
Recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA studios with producer Dave Cobb in October 2019, the album comes after HBO’s acclaimed documentary, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, reignited interest in the Australian trio’s music and set it soaring back up the charts.
In an interview with Billboard ahead of its release, Gibb said, “Country music in Australia in 1958 was rock n’ roll. You got used to loving people like George Jones or Johnny Cash. I remember [Cash’s Ballad of a] Teenage Queen, which was probably 1958. That voice! Then beyond all that, Roy Orbison — his songwriting, his insight and how he built those records. To start a song like Running Scared or Crying, to start very small and build and build and build to a climax — that’s not an easy task, you know? That inspired me to write songs.
“But I also fell in love with bluegrass music. I love all music, but I think country music or Americana music, what’s going on now, it’s still the best songs, it’s still the best music. And it comes from one place. You can go anywhere else in the world, and you won’t find the great songs that you find in Nashville.”
Although a group effort, Gibb named all the people he wanted to work with. Notably, he reunited with Parton for the first time in 40 years, since they recorded Islands in the Stream together.
Urban too, seemed like a fitting person to have on the record. In 2017, he famously sang To Love Somebody during the Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees, which moved Gibb to tears. Other performers on the night included Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett.
Of working with Urban, Gibbs said, “[Keith] gave us a great gift because he brought Nicole [Kidman] with him, and that was such a thrill. I’m freaking out, you know. It’s not really about anyone else being impressed by me or intimidated by me — it’s the other way around.”
Gibb says he will release a Vol. 2 if demand is there, and a tour is planned when safe to.
Gibb’s career spans over 60 years, making him a bona fide member of music royalty. From three brothers from Queensland for formed in the late 1950s, The Bee Gees went on to win eight Grammy Awards – including the Grammy Legend Award and the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, he’s a recipient of the AMAs Lifetime Achievement Award, the BMI Icon Award, and a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1 is out now.
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