Flyinshoes Review

Welcome to FSR our Roots Music Reviewers & Pod/broadcasters Community       

Howe Gelb, maverick artist and godfather to a desert strand of alt-country epitomised by his own band, Giant Sand, and the better known Calexico, continues his long habit of collaborations by meeting up here with a Spanish flamenco band fronted by master guitarist Raimundo Amador. Having only ever heard snippets of Howe Gelb's work and being completely ignorant of flamenco tradition, I have to take this record at face value and can't offer any insight as to how far either side in this project have departed from their traditional metier.

        To a fair degree, it honestly sounds like they're each doing their own thing and letting the collective sound come together where it may. There is an inherent fit to be found, I feel, in that Howe Gelb's desert music has a strong sense of being located in the Mexican borderlands where Spanish is frequently spoken and acoustic guitar-based music is where it's at. That Mexican guitar style has an accent that relates closely to these flamenco players - but it's not the same thing, and it's many centuries since their forebears shared a homeland. Besides, Howe Gelb's quite inclined to chuck a fuzzy, aggresive electric guitar into the mix, which stirs things up a bit.

        It's Howe Gelb's songs being performed here and he has a very idiosyncratic approach to songwriting, from the banal, wry observations of  4 Door Maverick to story songs - myth-making songs, really - taking  you into strange territory that always seems more cinematic than real.  Every now and then he gives you a hint of the pop song he could write if he felt like it before veering off again down his own particular trail. He tends to murmur and whisper his lines in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Clint Eastwood's Stranger character in those early westerns: you'd better listen to me, but I'm not going to make it easy for you, he's saying. His style is definitively American - individualist, laconic, cynical - and this is the most obvious of the many contrasts highlighted in this collaboration, because his gypsy band make music that is cultivated, beautiful and communal in spirit - music for a social gathering.

         There are songs here when you wouldn't know there was a flamenco band performing because there's nothing remotely Spanish or dance-oriented about the music. One song in particular, Saint Conformity, puts me in mind of The Mothers Of Invention more than anything, whilst One Diner Town has a straightforward, unornamented guitar line that is cut across by a disonant piano as Howe murmurs his disturbing tale of a disturbed mind. All in all, it's difficult to know what to make of this project, to understand what they were trying to achieve. The best, most attractive moments come when Raimundo Amador is in full flow, conjuring astonishingly rich and fluid sounds from his instrument, but the enduring fascination comes from the sense of two cultures turning a light on each other, the better to understand what they're each up to.

John Davy


Views: 30

Tags: Gelb, Howe, davy, john

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Flyinshoes Review to add comments!

Join Flyinshoes Review

Keep the wheels on the hub

The Voice of The Independent Artists

Blues & Roots Radio

The House Concert Hub and FSR are affiliated to Concert Window.

Video-cast your shows here and help fund the hub too. 

Would like to contribute to FSR and the House Concert Hub? Please help keep the wheels on the hub, this site is run on House Concert Principles and relies on your donation. Thank You for keeping this in mind



Face Book

Medicine Show Promo Tour Support . Artists we will connect you with your Euro support structure.

The House Concert Hub was founded by (me) Rob Ellen of Medicine Music; Publicist, Promoter, Presenter. Here are some of the artists Medicine Music and I have the privilege to work with, and links to their music and our mailing list. Please consider joining, be first to know what's happening. All of our artists are confirmed House Concert fans and available for your consideration. Also follow our rolling news below in this column.

Enjoy the site.

You are very welcome to this community; all feedback is very much appreciated ...  Rob Ellen.
 Play Gigs


Artists If you want to connect directly with hosts promoters, DJ's and publications who are really active on this site and FSR and off. I can help, have a look at our enhanced membership group, I can connect you with and help you maintain your support structure here in Europe, thats what I do.

 I have introduced to Europe with the help of many of the members here and on FlyinShoes Review and the broad/podcasters and reviewers of Europe the likes of I See Hawks In LA, AJ Roach, Nels Andrews, Carry Elkin, Drew Nelson, Robby Hecht, Eric Brace and Peter Cooper, John Byrd, Phil Lee, Tom Mason, Charlie Roth, the list goes on and on and grows by the week.

I hope its of interest, its great work and I love doing it.
Rob Ellen

Info on Medicine Show Records and our Mobile Studio and concert duplication system

Flyinshoes Review is brought to you in conjunction with Medicine Show Promo 

The Medicine Show is the home of the House Concert here is our rolling news


booking House Concerts

Low Country Hill in The Netherlands and Germany in February/March 2016?

Hello everyone,

My name is Paul Hogeterp and I am a musician and long-time resident of Hamilton, Canada.  In November 2014, I released my debut solo record under the moniker Low Country Hill.  Recorded by Dave King at his lovely barn-turned-studio on the outskirts of Hamilton, the record features a cast of talented compadres, family and guest musicians including Pat Sansone of Wilco and Bill Dillon (Joni Mitchell,…

joe bayliss looking for hosts, staffordshire, west midlands, cheshire, derbyshire autumn/winter 2015 tour

Hi all, i'm looking for anyone wishing to host a house party this autumn/winter.

please take a look at my website and see a few videos or listen to my albums.

I love the intimacy of small concerts allowing 2 way conversations, jokes and story telling to develop.

see you soon!

Seeking House Concerts in March-June 2016

Hi I'm looking to arrange a UK and European tour between March and June next year, I'd love to play at your place. I can offer a slice of real deep New Zealand folk music, see my website for more info:…

Scotland House Concerts in November!

Hi all,

I'm Ags Connolly, a country singer from Oxford, and I'm looking for house concerts in Scotland this November. I am playing at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival in Shetland that month and would like to fit some house concerts around it if possible.

The dates I am…

© 2015   Created by The Medicine Show.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Site Meter