Let’s get a few facts straight right off the bat. The name is Daughn Gibson – rhymes with Jaughn, or Raughn. He was born in the village of Nazareth, PA, and currently resides in the sleepy college town of Carlisle, PA, where he frequents local watering holes like The Cave and Alibis. He’s 6’5", hovers at 200 pounds, and has a head of jet-black hair thicker than a porcupine. He played drums in the group Pearls & Brass for a number of years, touring the US to small but enthusiastic crowds, and if you tag them as “stoner-metal” it will go to show that you’ve never actually listened to them. For a few years in-between, Daughn was a trucker, sure, but he’s also been packing boxes in an un-air conditioned warehouse, climbing up commercial broadcast towers with untested levels of radiation, working the register at an adult bookstore, doing sound at dive bars and collecting unemployment checks to earn a living. Daughn’s been around.
Daughn Gibson first entered the daydreams and fantasies of the general public in the spring of last year, care of his critically-acclaimed debut album All Hell. At once both foreign and familiar, Daughn’s music is immediately striking – through the use of dusty thrift-store records and cutting edge technology, Daughn shook the ghosts out of scratchy Christian folk records and baptized them as fierce Americana with his booming baritone voice. His songs are as frequently tender as they are prurient, as hopeful as they are brimming with despair. He treats the past with a respectful reverence while still being able to appreciate what some modern-day wunderkind is doing with electronic music across the pond. The only real starting point for the music of Daughn Gibson is Daughn Gibson.
It’s on Daughn’s second album and Sub Pop debut, Me Moan, that he truly reveals himself to the world. If All Hell was a gritty black-and-white movie, Me Moan is a widescreen IMAX 3D extravaganza. While the roots of sample-based music remain, these songs are performed live, lushly detailed and richly orchestrated. It’s going to take a few listens just to soak it in and process, but that’s alright – one always finds the time for something like this. To name but a small selection, live drums, pedal steel, horns, house strings, bagpipes and organs appear on this record, but never does it feel over-stuffed – every instrument or melody is perfectly in place. It’s worth noting that guitarists John Baizley (of Baroness) and Jim Elkington (of Brokeback) provide stunning performances on the record. You’ll throw it all to the wind during “Kissin on the Blacktop” and nurse your hangover with “Into the Sea”. You’ll protect your loved ones against “The Pisgee Nest” and hold them close during “Franco”. You’ll send “Phantom Rider” after your enemies and feel remorse alongside “All My Days”. Me Moan isn’t just Daughn Gibson’s primal scream, it’s a skirmish through the full spectrum of emotion, unfiltered and impassioned.
Like Cormac McCarthy or Robert Altman, Daughn Gibson is a uniquely American artist who throws his soul into his work, free of compromise, possessed by unique vision and so damn intense that he constantly teeters on spontaneous combustion. It’s not out of line to consider Me Moan as his Blood Meridian; his Nashville. All that’s left is for you to let Daughn in.