Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giant Sandy Devotional

I used to think of Howe Gelb as a Bob Dylan for my generation (or at least a John Prine). His lyrics are always literate and clever, and he staked a claim on the alt-country turf when the geography of that genre had yet to be mapped. Jason and the Nashville Scorchers released their debut EP (with its rocking revision of "Absolutely Sweet Marie") in 1982 (the same year the Kinmans re-emerged as the Rank and File). These were no doubt an influence on Gelb.

Howe ever, Giant Sand is always all over the map, and now I think of Gelb as more of a Willie Nelson type. He's no generational spokesman but an accomplished singer-songwriter, and as a player he crisscrosses the borders between the lands of Jazz and Country, sometimes emerging from a wormhole into a musical DMZ.

November brings a new Giant Sand album, Blurry Blue Mountain, and with it the announcement from Fire Records of a reissue campaign to round up all the Giant Sand releases from the past 25 years, a disparate discography that wanders from one record label to another, with lineup changes reflecting death, divorce, and desertion. "Giant Sand is a mood," quoth Howe, and sometimes he's in the mood to do other things that aren't quite Sandy. Collaborations under the names of OP8, Friends of Dean Martinez, and AZ Amp and Alternator, as well as solo Howe Gelb records, have appeared over the years. Some (if not all) of these diversions will be rekindled by Fire Records through this ambitious and auspicious reissue campaign. All told it will encompass thirty CD's, plus vinyl picture discs.

First up for re-release are the first three: Valley of Rain, Thin Line Man, and Storm, a Giant Sand LP that was originally issued by Fire Records in 1988. A pedal steel guitarist was playing with the Sand at that time. Check out the barnstorming "Three 6ixes", the tale of a young man who beats the devil (without a fiddling contest). Read about Howe's favorite Giant Sand songs
here. And buy Blurry Blue Mountain -- it's a wistful and mature (but playful) collection of new songs, plus Howe revisits his own "Thin Line Man".

Giant Sand: Three 6ixes


At 5/03/2015 10:00 PM , Blogger -blessed holy socks, the non-perishable-zealot said...

God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL


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