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JON GIBSON - For nearly three decades, Jon Gibson has been one of the best kept secrets in popular music - but don't tell that to his legion of fans. Throughout his career, Jon Gibson has straddled many musical styles and confounded those who tried to label him, creating consistent, original music that has gained him a fiercely loyal following and a catalog of really wonderful music. Tough to describe and tougher to classify, Gibson's a white guy who sounds like Stevie Wonder, a song craftsman who pioneered Christian rap, and a singer who reeks attitude in his mission of justice, where good prevails over evil. After returning from European service in the US Army at age 20, Gibson signed with Dick Griffey's new Constellation label. For days Griffey had great fun tricking a number of his Solar artists like The Whispers and Shalamar with Jon's tape (they all thought it was Wonder). Jon's debut came as a guest vocalist and songwriter for 3 songs on Bill Wolfer's Wolf album which quickly became Smooth Jazz standards in those days. During the process of making that album, Jon met his musical idol, Stevie Wonder, and worked with a crew of great musicians, including Michael Jackson. Wolfer returned the favor the next year by producing Gibson's debut album, Standing on the One. It was a fine debut, showing that Gibson was more than just a Wonder-clone, and that he had songwriting skills to go with that great voice.
But at the time Christian labels were also courting Jon and he soon became torn between his desire for pop stardom and the peer pressure to give testimony to his faith, so he signed with the Frontline Christian label for On the Run, a partial re-release of Standing with a few new cuts, including the #1 CCM hit "God Loves A Broken Heart." It became the first in a string of over 22 top 5 CCM hits and nine #1 songs! On his next album, Change of Heart, Gibson released the #1 song, and now Christian music classic, "Friend in You" as well as the first CCM rap hit, "This Wall," featuring a then-unknown rapper named MC Hammer. By this time, Gibson was regularly topping the CCM charts, and his next two albums, the wonderful Body and Soul (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica) and the edgier Jesus Loves Ya, moved him to the A-List of Contemporary Christian artists. The title track of the latter LP stayed at #1 for eleven weeks and became the top selling CCM single of 1991. The album was featured in TIME/LIFE's 100 Greatest Christian Albums. He then followed with Forever Friends, which yielded 4 #1 CCM Hits and the album was voted Album of The Year by CCM Magazine. Jon's next album Love Education was released through a friends label Brianstorm International/Word and is considered by many critics to be his best and most eclectic release to date.
Jon then got married, had children, and took time off from his music until landing a record deal with the Gospelcentric/B-Rite label. In 1999 B-Rite released The Man Inside, a consciously urban-sounding album made with master producer Tommy Sims. But B-Rite, along with so many other labels, were effected by the major shifting that took place within the industry at that time and so Gibson was forced to take his career into his own hands launching his own smooth soul praise album in 2002 entitled Soulful Hymns. Jon became a music minister at a California church and after the birth of his third son Jesse, in Christmas of 2004, Jon began working on a new album called The Storyteller. Seven years in the making and now ready for release in 2012, The Storyteller is a masterpiece showing once again Gibson's versatility, tenacity and amazing ability to continue to grow and create great music as an artist. The Storyteller is Gibson in full circle, returning to the original mission that he was once detoured from, a mission to make streetwise, timeless and uplifting music that everyone can embrace and relate to, regardless of there religious beliefs. It is a unique and nobel quest especially in a time when we could all use just a little more light. The Storyteller is not the music of a Christian artist, it is the pure and original works of a fine artist who happens to be a believer! This is the music of Jon Gibson, music to be enjoyed by all for generations to come.
By Chris Rizik - Revised by L. Rea