Label: Fire Records Release date: 24/10/10 Link: Official Site "Between the crystal clear focus of your day to day and the luxury of sweet fuzzy sleep, we welcome you to the blurry blue mountain". - Howe Gelb Howe Gelb’s name alone qualifies him to sling a guitar and, should it be his want, use a raspy tone to drone endlessly about where he’s been and what he’s seen. Though born in Pennsylvania, Gelb’s sound is endemic to the American southwest and, more specifically, to a handful of roadside saloons where the women are fast, and the whisky pours smooth. For over 25 years now, Gelb’s Giant Sand has churned out alternative interruptions of quintessentially American folk, blues and outlaw country. Blurry Blue Mountain is the latest addition to an abundant catalogue of material with a sense of theater, and a sense of place. A less foreboding Johnny Cash, Gelb’s cadence while storytelling is unmistakable , and entrancing. Giant Sand is fully committed to recreating a sound that may not, currently, have a large audience interested in purchasing this music for home consumption, but an educated audiophile can surely appreciate the encapsulated ambiance. Ride The Rail and the very sweet Spell Bound are tracks rich with memoirs, myths and anecdotes detailing a myriad of unique situations. The final track, epilogue Love A Loser, recalls the seediest of down-and-out nightspots, where leathery-skinned patrons sip away whatever it is they’re so upset about. When former members John Convertino and Joey Burns gained notoriety for side-project Calexico, their progressive take on Giant Sand’s timeless sound quickly attracted a vast audience of eclectics. Gelb has served as muse for many while his own music has remained fairly predictable over the last quarter century. His contemporaries have advanced and revitalized his initial roots rock premise with jazz elements, and danceable Latin beats, and that sounds like more fun. And now, here, Gelb makes it’s clear from the beginning that this album is intended as a sedative. Even though I adore what it is Gelb has been trying to do on Blurry Blue Mountain, and over the last twenty five years, it would take forensic analysis to find any signs of progression or evolution. When campfire stories and albums paced like a rolling tumble weed grow vapid, I usually turn to the likes of Calexico, Everest, Bright Black Morning Light, or Bon Iver for my grizzled, lo-fi, Americana. Photobucket