Gibson Brothers hire Joe Walsh

Joe WalshLong time mandolinist with The Gibson Brothers, Rick Hayes, recently announced his intention to retire from the road to focus on Hayes Mandolins, his budding mandolin building endeavor.

Eric and Leigh Gibson are happy to welcome young mandolinist Joe Walsh in Rick’s stead. Joe is a recent graduate from The Berklee College Of Music and has been performing with several bluegrass and acoustic bands in the northeast, and teaching mandolin and guitar in Portland, ME.

Joe was Berklee’s first mandolin student and moved from Duluth, MN to Boston to study there. One of his professors at Berklee, David Hollender, shared a few thoughts.

“Joe has great time, beautiful tone and he really knows how to connect with other players and make a band groove. His playing has contemporary elements but retains a deeply rooted, down to earth quality that not that all young players have. When Joe is in the band you can be sure the music will just feel good.

I think everyone who knows Joe knew it was just a matter of time until he’d land a gig like the one he has now. It’s said that success comes mainly from motivation, determination and perseverance. Joe exemplified this when he was a student at Berklee. He had to struggle to stay in school. You’d see him on his bike on cold winter days with his mandolin on his back headed to class after getting up to drive a bread truck at 4:00 am every day. Later you’d see him at night heading off to jam. Nothing would stop him and it’s great to see all that work starting to pay off.”

He will do his first show with The Gibsons on January 2, 2009 at the New Year’s Bluegrass Festival in Jekyll Island, GA. Joe joins Eric (banjo and guitar), Leigh (guitar), Mike Barber (bass), and Clayton Campbell (fiddle) to make up the band’s new look.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.