Howe Gelb. Photo: Christoph Voy.
Howard “Howe” Gelb is an American singer-songwriter, musician and record producer based in Tucson, Arizona. He is one of the most resilient and inventive American artists of his generation and he’s playing McHughs Barrel Venue on Monday week, December 4th.
Based in Tuscon Arizona since 1972, Howe has collaborated with artists such as M Ward, PJ Harvey and John Parish, and his band Giant Sand spawned and inspired bands such as Calexico who are part of Howe’s extended musical family.
Over decades he’s managed to mash elements of rock, country, blues, punk, garage, lo-fi, jazz, gospel, avant-garde noise and flamenco gypsy music. Guitar and piano are his weapons of tumult. He sings like a gruff angel, a town crier tapping you on the shoulder, reminding you that the world need not be seen in the conventional ways to which we revert when the world goes blurry.
He weaves impressionistic imagery into personal narrative and indulges listeners in expansive observations of the world. In his early years there had been comparisons to artists along the paradoxical lines of Neil Young, David Byrne, Bob Dylan and Captain Beefheart, comparisons that all fit clumsily. Nowadays, other artists get compared to Gelb.
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The key question with any Howard Gelb show is what guise he will take on for the occasion – solo piano music, free jazz excursions, late night crooning, dusty acoustic Americana, flamenco, , another version of one of his songs, or something that he hasn’t done yet. If there is such a thing.
This gig comes courtesy of Bigmoon Records and thirtythree-45 with kind support from the Droichead Arts Centre. Tickets are 15 euro from Eventbrite.