Ferrill Gibbs, A Genius!

April 20, 2019

Music is the light that drives me to live my best life. It is the beacon that brings me out of the darkness and yanks at my soul. 


When I saw that Ferrill Gibbs would be playing at The Listening Room, I knew I had to go. Anything else that was competing for my time had to rest and set me free. I must confess part of the magnetic process pulling me to him is his beautiful wife, Elizabeth (“Fish”). I have never met a more welcoming soul in my life. She makes me want to breathe the same air she breathes; perhaps that is why I want to be like her when I grow up! 


Jim Pennington announced the show was about to begin, then he rambled a bit like he tends to do. Jim is so excited about what he has created; a place where a musician knows he or she is the reason everyone has gathered. It is a place where a musician feels “Special”. 

So many times when we go to hear music…it is a struggle to hear.  There is loud talking, even screaming and some are paying almost no attention to these underpaid, overworked musicians as they struggle to be heard. The Listening Room is their place to shine and be appreciated. I love live music, especially original music (covers are ok too)…Jim has provided a place for me and you to actually hear the music and fall in love with it.


Ferrill is brilliant. Yes he is an author “The Secret Island of Edgar Dewitt”, he is a singer/songwriter as well and that is what brings us here tonight. Ferrill is also one of the best podcasters I have ever followed. His podcast is called “Unhand the Monster”, check it out! His diversity is what draws me to him. I have often told my sons not to put all of their eggs in one basket. Being multi-skilled increases your opportunities….I bet Ferrill’s mom told him that too!


As the show began Ferrill talked about having graduated from Auburn University and being a huge, devoted fan of his alma mater. He added, “I was not only taught to be loyal to Auburn, I was also taught to hate Alabama” (University of Alabama). Ferrill claims it is hard to be an Auburn fan in Mobile, there are far more (enthusiastic) Alabama fans here. He wrote a song about his struggle. One line that stood out for me, “No, I don’t bleed crimson and white, but I know what it feels to be as high as the high tide!” …this, by the way, is not a reference to smoking weed, it is a reference to the still lingering excitement of the final seconds of the 2013 Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (One of those rare times that Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl!)


It is a huge accomplishment, the Auburn fans replay it in their heads 365 days a year and they have done so since that day November 30, 2013! Yes, I am an Alabama fan, but I love people who are Auburn fans as well (my late husband graduated from Auburn). Unlike so many others I can love one without hating the other. Thanks Ferrill for sharing this song.


At one point Ferrill said, “My mom was busting my chops about writing so many sad songs”. I can relate to his mother’s feelings on that. My son who is a singer/songwriter writes a lot of break-up songs and sad songs. It is unfortunately a real part of life, especially for a touring musician. Relationships are far more complicated when one of the two is gone 80% of the time.


I just watched one of Ferrill’s music videos, it is his song “The Happy Ones”. It says, “There is a house on a hill we’ve been living in under the shade of a tree of significance.These are the times of our lives and we cling to them. Just like the sun to our skin and the moon to her eyes as I look in them.”…..


These lyrics paint a clear picture. A picture that makes me smile. The video shows Ferrill in everyday life and how he and his wife interact with love and kindness to one another…I love it!


Other songs Ferrill performed last night that still linger in my head are “Hallelujah to Ya” and “Insurmountable Things”. I love the concept of how he sees his lady (Elizabeth-“Fish”) as an insurmountable thing. His instant love for her was too great to overcome… 

For me that paints a picture in my head of true, deep abiding love. Thanks for that Ferrill.

(I would love to be someone’s insurmountable thing!)


Ferrill pulled an audience member up for an interview to give us a taste of his podcast, "Unhand The Monster." He interviewed Dr. Tom Leytham, who is also a musician and who will be playing in a "songwriters in the round" show on the 27th of this month at The Listening Room. You should make your plans to come if you can. The interview was great!


Everyone has their own style and we cannot all connect on the same level with every artist, but we should be able to connect with some of their songs. 


Ferrill is a genius. That is not a question or debate, it is a fact. I love the way he sees the world. I believe the way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.


I am always impressed by Ferrill’s candor, his banter and his songs…they are different than so many others; this is what sets him apart. He is a multi-faceted, resourceful, talented man and I enjoyed his show. The next time you see he is playing around town, make an effort to go and check him out.


Thank you Ferrill Gibbs for a great show

Thank you Jim Pennington and The Listening Room for another wonderful show.

Thank you to those who came to enjoy it.


Juanita Smith

Music mom



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