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Otis Gibbs

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Biography

Otis Gibbs is a man in search of an honest experience. Some people refer to him as a folk artist, but that is a simplistic way to describe a man who has planted over 7,000 trees, slept in hobo jungles, walked with nomadic shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains, been strip-searched by dirty cops in Detroit, and has an FBI file. Otis has played everywhere from labor rallies in Wisconsin, to anti-war protests in Texas, Austria and the Czech Republic, Feed & Seed Stores in the Midwestern U.S. and in countless, theaters, festivals, bars and living rooms. Much of his work concentrates on the world that is ignored by pop culture. Sometimes forgotten, obsolete or simply marginalized, it is a world that doesn’t fit into a twenty-second sound bite or a White House talking point. Otis has spent the last fifteen years traveling across America and abroad documenting this world, and has a story to share about each stop along the way.

Otis grew up in the rural town of Wanamaker, Indiana. He first stepped on stage at the age of four, when he sang Jimmie Rodgers’ “Waiting for a Train” at a neighborhood honky tonk. While his parents worked countless hours trying to make ends meet, Otis was often in his uncle’s care. Not accustomed to parenthood, the uncle was sometimes bored, so the two would frequent bars, where Otis sang for tip money (which meant more booze for his uncle). Otis was hooked, and would often ask if they could go back and sing some more songs. The answer, “Only if you promise to never tell your parents.”

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  • headey

    20th Sept 2011 Liverpool

    19 Jul 2011 Reply
  • annadoll2001

    The idea of having an 'Otis Gibbs ringtone' (see top of page) is somehow horrible and wonderful all at the same time. I would have to buy a phone first though...

    3 Nov 2010 Reply
  • RecycledFlesh

    Amazing. Surprising more people don't listen to him...

    12 Oct 2010 Reply
  • tweedyfarrar

    new album is ridiculously good

    23 Jun 2010 Reply
  • strajnic

    Yes, that's it!

    21 Feb 2010 Reply
  • heatherc

    Zebulon: That song is called "The Town That Killed Kennedy." It will be on his next album, which is scheduled to be released early 2010.

    30 Dec 2009 Reply
  • vegetubleman

    I've added a couple of videos here - I don't think there are any 'official', MTV-approved ones. Watch them and then go and see Otis!

    12 Dec 2009 Reply
  • Zebulon_B_VDS

    On his London gig he played a song I can't find anywhere. The lyrics contained some lines about nobody wanting to travel on a Greyhound bus, but that they are just too poor to fly. Any help retrieving this would be much appreciated. And, of course, annadoll is right: he is a born entertainer and a must-see live

    6 Dec 2009 Reply
  • annadoll2001

    Saw him last night. If he is playing ANYWHERE near you, GO!

    25 Jun 2009 Reply
  • tissy60

    I just saw Otis this weekend, AWESOME!!!

    23 Jun 2009 Reply
  • CinemaGoddess

    OMG...Otis is coming to town this weekend and I cannot wait to see him...I am so excited I'm about to pee in my pants!

    28 Jan 2009 Reply
  • Marto1971

    big up to Otis for his cool tracks, awesome photography and wonderous beard.

    30 Dec 2008 Reply
  • Wallamanage

    I agree on both points.

    14 Dec 2008 Reply
  • watthead

    Otis is a hell of a guy. Thanks to Billy Bragg for letting me know about him.

    24 Nov 2007 Reply

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