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Howe Gelb

legends / howegelb

Top, Howe Gelb at Hotel Congress, Winter 2003; below, at Solar Culture, Tucson, Winter 2003.


I saw Giant Sand for the first time in Tempe about ten years ago, and I was struck by the unusual hush that descended when the band finally came on. I heard people whispering about lead singer and guitarist Howe Gelb, using words like "brilliant." Then I watched him deomonstrate just what those whisperers meant. The undisputed master of idiosyncratic, desert-baked, introspective rock, Howe Gelb is respected, well-loved, and utterly humble. A principal in the seminal Giant Sand (with co-legends Joey Burns and John Conventino of Calexico), Howe seems bemused by the attention he gets from longtime fans as well as newer converts, who seem to appreciate his Don-Juan good looks. Sometimes I am confronted in a club by someone taking issue with artists I've listed in the Legends section of this site; Howe is an excellent example of what "legends" are made of. The man's got it all -- talent, looks, an international following, yet the word "pretension" does not exist in his world. He plays his heart out. He doesn't harsh anybody. He never confronted me asking why it took me this long to list him in Legends, when he could arguably have been the first in the section. Take that, you wannabes. Howe is the real thing.

-- CIA ROMANO, Spring 2004