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Howe Gelb - Gathered

  by Keith How

published: 22 / 2 / 2019

Howe Gelb - Gathered
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Off-kilter but haunting lounge jazz on new solo album from former Giant Sand frontman Howe Gelb

The seemingly enigmatic and unfathomable Howe Gelb continues his journey started with the lounge jazz of 'New Standards' with this new offering of fifteen tunes, quite a few of which are collaborations with luminaries such as M.Ward and Anna Karina. The resulting 'Gathered' is a rather strange affair, opening with a salvo of three slow and sometimes seductive ballads that, at first listen, appear a little tired. Of course, this is not the case. Gelb’s legendary world weariness just sounds “different” housed in a lounge jazz setting. Just to confuse you, the sixth track 'The Open Road' is a short, sharp desert blues rocker complete with Duane Eddy guitar -just a reminder that the ghost of Giant Sand has not been exorcised. Just to upset your apple cart again fifteen- year old Talula Gelb offers a delightful take on the classic 'Moon River'. 'Gathered' is a traveller's album full of lost tales and relationships. Beautifully constructed, the dynamics of the album switch from a minimal, strummed guitar that accompanies Gelb’s hoarse vocal to a full jazz crooners' band echoing Chet Baker’s often slightly removed style. The diversity on offer is remarkable. 'The Park at Night' is a trailer park narrative, conjuring up a sense of a 'True Detective' episode with the quiet narrative delivered in hushed tones. 'My Little World' is another Baker-esque offering, upon which a jaunty bass line hustles the tune along while Gelb sings about taking his dog for a walk. 'Gathered' will probably divide opinion. A sidestep from the previous 'Future Standards' albums, 'Gathered' requires listening to and reveals its secrets on repeat listening. I wonder if fifteen songs is too many on this occasion? One thing is certain that is value for money

Track Listing:-
1 On The Fence
2 A Thousand Kisses Deep
3 Not The End Of The World
4 Anna
5 Give It Up
6 The Open Road
7 Moon River
8 Flyin' Off The Rails
9 Gathered
10 All You Need To Know
11 The Park At Dark
12 My Little World
13 Presumptuous feat. Kira Skov
14 Storyteller
15 Steadfast

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live reviews

Luminaire, London, 4/10/2009
Howe Gelb - Luminaire, London, 4/10/2009
At the London Luminaire, Anthony Middleton watches Howe Gelb manage to pull off the rare trick of being both consumately entertaining and also genuinely experimental and inspirational
Bodoga, Nottingham, 2/10//2009
Babylon, Ottawa, 2/3/2006

favourite album

Sno Angel Like You (2016)
Howe Gelb - Sno Angel Like You
Keith How examines Giant Sand front man Howe Gelb's solo album 'Sno Angel Like You' which found him working with a Canadian Gospel choir and finds it standing the test of time



Future Standards (2017)
Surprising new direction for ex-Giant Sand leader Howe Gelb on his first album since the dissolution of his former band
7 Inches of 'Sno (2010)

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