Giant Giant Sand – Tucson

January 01, 1970



Howe Gelb is into his fourth decade of recording as/with
Giant Sand, making alt-rock/alt-Americana music that is as recognizably
evocative, alluringly prickly and frequently weird as the desert landscape of Arizona, where he lives.
And as this superb disc shows, that landscape – as well as the artistic outpost
that is Tucson –
still seems capable of sparking his inspiration and love of music.


A concept album
about a man who leaves Tucson
for a new beginning in a sometimes-romantic, sometimes-confusing Southwest, it
has the breadth, intelligence, mystery and ambitious arrangements of a major
work. With 19 songs, it’s maybe a touch too long, but almost every song is
vivid in its poetry and instrumental coloration, from “Wind Blown Waltz” to the
impassioned “The Sun Belongs to You” to the twangy rock shuffle of “Thing Like


Gelb’s “Giant Giant Sand” includes Danish band members and
string section; Arizona
musicians who inject mariachi trumpet, flamenco guitar, and percussive rhythms;
pedal-steel guitarist Maggie Bjorklund, and supporting vocalist Lonna Kelley.
The collaboration brings out the expressive, emotive, committed best in his


Blown Waltz,” “Thing Like That” STEVEN ROSEN


This review also
appears in the latest print edition of BLURT (issue #12).




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