Gibson Flowers "The Ballad of Jimmy O'Shea"

by Jim Asker

The Ballad of Jimmy O’Shea is the brand new 12-song album by Gibson Flowers. 

Firstly, you should know that Gibson Flowers, is one-person, Matt Johnson

He solely wrote all the songs, played every instrument, and produced it himself. 

Gibson Flowers is Matt’s brainchild and the culmination of soaking up so many styles of music through the years; from 1990’s grunge to The Everly BrothersThe Beach BoysThe BeatlesThe EaglesAmericaTom Petty, and many many others. 

Real, authentic music like this is timeless. It captures and embodies the best of all genres. That’s what you’ll find on The Ballad of Jimmy O’Shea. 

Matt resides in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Kathi and four children.

When you see him at Muletown Coffee Roasters; the gem of a coffee shop he’s helmed since its launch in 2013 (with co-owner Chris Coyne), you’d think he’s been here forever. He hasn’t.

The café is more than a place to grab coffee and something yummy. 

It’s a bustling, magnetic space that, like Matt’s music, also has that classic ageless vibe. Everyone seems to know one another even though they may have just met minutes before you walked in.

Let’s get back to this album: He’s been pondering this record for years, and it was finally sparked when one of his kids, Margie, observing that he’s got lots of vinyl albums, but none with his name on the title jibed, “dad how come you don’t have an album?”

That provided the spark. 

Throughout his lifetime, Matt has written a bunch of songs, “about 1000,” he casually mentioned. 

During his time serving at studios like the legendary Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals along with others, he’s developed and applied his craft; editing, engineering, producing, singing, and playing.

As you listen, you’ll notice that it’s cohesive in that it moves from one track to the next from start to finish.

Some of the songs will make you think, “that sounds like….” But then you can’t put your finger on it. Great music does that.

The 12-tracks on the Ballad of Jimmy O’Shea roll along through the places where legendary music has been captured, Laurel Canyon, Memphis, Liverpool, and of course, Muscle Shoals and Nashville.

Without fear of clichés, it's ultimate Americana; soulful, bright, sometimes poppy, and smartly simplistic. 

After you listen a few times, and then hear about a ‘live,’ show featuring Gibson Flowers, most likely Matt will be backed by some of the many accomplished musicians in the area.

I’d check them out if I were you. 

I’d also download the album…maybe even better…get it on vinyl, that’s the best way to listen to this kind of music. 

- Jim