Sunday, December 31, 2017

Scott Gibson

I suppose Lexington's Scott Gibson will be as close to a Renaissance Man as I will ever know.

By that, I mean he was a person with a broad range of skills – in his case, primarily in the arts, and particularly with music – and whose philosophies on life were gentle, observant and rational, even if they came at you from perhaps a slightly shifted angle.

He could make you think about something profound even before you knew you were thinking about it. That was the artist in him. That's what artists do.

I can't remember exactly when I first met him – it might have been years ago after one of his gigs at Sandy Creek or High Rock Outfitters or some other local venue – and it struck me that I could have been talking with folk songwriter Woody Guthrie for what I considered to be his sharp perceptions of everyday living and the lives we lead.

Part of that experience for me included his actual physical appearance: long, whitish hair that touched his collar; a black derby hat, or perhaps a fedora, announcing the troubadour was in the house; a couple days worth of stubble that suggested endlessly riding the hard rails of life in a boxcar. And when he sang, it was with an earthy and gravelly voice that accented exactly the point he was trying to make.

He could play anything, it seemed: guitar, banjo, harmonica, autoharp. He'd occasionally wander into the local coffee shops, sometimes with ukulele in hand, and strum us a free concert. He might have been in the process of composing, for all I knew. You know: folk singer mingling with the folk.

It surprised me that he knew who I was before we even met. He read The Dispatch, and later, my blogs. That caught me off my guard. And it opened a door.

One evening, during an open mic night at HRO, I read a few poems I'd written back in my college days decades ago. Scott was in the audience. Afterwards, he told me I should resume my poetry. Coming from a songwriter of his merit, that meant something to me. Maybe I'll take him up on it.

Scott died on Friday after a long bout with illness, and his passing will leave a gaping void in the Lexington music scene. It will leave a void in many of us.

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