Two days after celebrating his 32nd birthday, country music recording artist Patrick Gibson returned to the West Orange scene where a major part of his fan base took shape.
On the night of July 19, Gibson performed to a full house at Blue 42 Sports Grill, 14195 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden. Fans gave him a warm welcome, just like they did at his shows when the establishment was known as Benchwarmers. The concert served as a fundraiser for Bethesda, Md.-based CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
“It’s an honor to be back here in West Orange County tonight,” Gibson told the audience, which included his mother, Donna Henley, of Palm Bay, and other family members.
“I love hearing him play live,” Henley said.
Gibson and his band — lead guitarist and bandleader JMR, Scott McGill on upright bass, Brian Molnar on the cajon (drum) and Bill Posten on the keys — delivered a set that included the rollicking “Redneck Rock N’ Roll” and “Florida Cracker Country Boy,” as well as the gentle, “Daddy’s Little Girl.” In addition, Gibson praised the Sunshine State’s skies and beaches in “Florida” and the glories of farm life in “Moonlight on the Farm.”
Houses and stores that have replaced agricultural areas of West Orange are, to some people, positive developments, “but that’s not progress to me,” he told the crowd.
Musician Christopher Poindexter opened for Gibson, whose set was followed by a performance by Wade Hayes, a colon-cancer survivor who recorded several country hits in the 1990s.
Originally from Apopka, Gibson as a youngster moved with his family to Ocoee, where he attended Ocoee Middle School. He graduated from West Orange High School in 2000.
Five years later, Gibson left for Nashville, Tenn. to complete his first demo CD, titled “Florida,” according to his website, pgcountry.com. This 12-song album includes seven songs written by Gibson.
Last September, he released his second CD titled, “The Same Don’t Stay the Same.” It features three tracks of new material and two songs from the previous album in acoustic form, according to his site.
Gibson — who sites George Jones and Garth Brooks as major influences — over the years has twice performed at the Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival, as well as at local joints, such as Frank’s Place in Ocoee. He currently lives in Clermont with his wife, Rebecca, and their two sons, Cadence, age 2, and Preston, who turns 1 in August.
Gibson said he performed many concerts earlier in his career in support of the American Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And last year, he helped organize a team for a CureSearch benefit walk in Orlando.
“It’s been in our hearts to support them more and more this year,” Gibson said on July 16. “I’m a father of two now, and if one of my kids came down with cancer it would just be heartbreaking to me. Giving back to our fellow people is very big to me. God gives us a talent to use. If we’re given a blessing, lets pay it forward.”
The people of West Orange certainly have done their part, he said.
“They’ve embraced us with paying it forward and have been big supporters of anything we’ve done,” Gibson said.
“He does so many good things for so many people,” Donna Henley said about her son. “He’s a ‘give-back’ person.”