Howe Gelb's New Single on Fort Lowell Records
“Spiral” / “Cordoba in Slow Motion”
Release Date: April 16 (Record Store Day)
I really enjoyed this new single by Howe Gelb. Both sides are different in so many ways, but they are united in having a similar tempo, energy, and feel; they both give a feeling of buoyancy in an overcast world.
The cover is a black and white photo of a cluster of birds in flight, viewed from within the cluster . Side A features a live version of “Spiral”, recorded with an understated and somber sounding choir. Howe’s even cadence on the piano is the start of “Spiral”, and combined with the background choir, and his hopeful lyric about a “new form of decency” makes a song about despair soar. “Spiral” is actually good blues: it’s a sad song that makes you feel spiritually uplifted. Howe’s piano playing is excellent, and played with real feeling. His piano trills and and accents bring to mind myriad associations, from Bob Dylan, to Billy Joel (early years), to Rachmaninoff. At the end, though, you’re startled out of your reverie by a rousing ovation from the audience. Great version. It comes off so easy, that it feels like a hug.
Side B features Howe’s jazz combo, “Melted Wires” playing a tune called “Cordoba in Slow Motion”, which saunters along at about the same tempo as “Spiral”. This tune is very cool jazz, with lots of brush work up high in the mix, and Howe’s tasteful piano filling out the rest. It sounds very improvisational. About halfway through, we hear the sounds of a trumpet, further back in the mix and with a bit of reverb, so that it sounds like it’s coming from across the room. It’s great; that trumpet really fills out the group. In my opinion, this song could have gone on for a lot longer, but I guess that means that you’ll just have to play it again!
I like how both Side A and Side B complement each other. Both have very different musical approaches, but both have a feeling of joy at their core.
A great single from Howe Gelb, on the Fort Lowell Records label!--Howard Salmon
Here's some additional info from Fort Lowell Records:
Fort Lowell Records celebrates it’s inaugural year with Record Store Day 2011 and the "godfather of alt-country,” the "elder ambassador of desert rock," Howe Gelb. Combining two of Gelb’s projects onto one 7inch record, ‘Sno Angel + Melted Wires lend a voice of comfort in a time of need. ‘Sno Angel, featuring Gelb with his Canadian based touring band backed by the Voices Of Praise choir, provide encouragement to the listener with their track “Spiral,” recorded in 2006 and taken from their live CD ‘Sno Angel Winging It (OW OM Records, 2009), presented here on vinyl for the very first time. Meanwhile, the previously unreleased track “Cordoba in Slow Motion,” recorded nearly three years later during Gelb’s Melted Wires sessions, tactfully, without lyrics, compliments it’s counterpart by providing the necessary space for meditation.