New album ‘Gathered’
Out 8th March 2019
“This is what we’ve gathered;
A savored moment in Cordoba, Spain within the grand hospitality of Fernando Vacas where the gypsies there met their Tucson brethren and ol’ Matt Ward offered up his fine grasp of a Leonard Cohen gem. Then there was a dream in Paris with the amazing Anna Karina adorning the lush production of David Aron-Brunetiére’s version of “Not The End Of The World”.
There was also a long layover in Dublin in which the Lost Brothers kindly offered studio time to tempt this weary traveller in to staying awake with lucky strum and slipstream banter. The brilliant Dutch producer JB Meijers offered up a fine construction of a freshly penned instrumental inspired by the charming Ms. Karina one afternoon outside Amsterdam too. Another time, Frank Birch Pontippidan allowed for grand capture in Copenhagen with several songs vying for existence. Then came the soulful treasure of Denmark’s Kira Skov adding her tender touch to a sonic sketch done up in Tucson. On another day in Tucson begat the delightful warble of 15 year old Talula having a go on the classic “Moon River”. And finally, the angelic grace of Pieta Brown, who insisted several of these assorted lyrics actually become songs, caressed the wedding song written for Rainer’s son.
No matter the slant of the trampled path or the stumble of new ground, it is these gathered moments of those gathered here that gather a tune or two to dispel the ills associated with the ache amplified and any exhaustive lug along these happy trails to you.
... or so I’ve gathered.” - Howe Gelb
Eavesdropping is an art. And on Howe Gelb’s new solo album, ‘Gathered’, it’s been perfected. A chance meeting heard through a door half cracked open, it’s an album of candid romanticism, a footnote to your heart’s history.
On ‘Gathered’, it feels like you’re privy to musings on a muse (or two). From the first discordant pluck of ‘On The Fence’ you’re alone and lost in the dark of Chet Baker vocalease where brushes whisp over the snare and you can taste the bar room’s stale smoke as a procession of partners sway into position. Old photographs half remembered. Is that M Ward just out of focus on Leonard Cohen’s ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ and Anna Karina on ‘Not The End Of The World’
There’s an international feel; Howe spars with world weary travellers from Ireland, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and down home. His daughter Talula intones ‘Moon River’, there’s a nod to Bessie, Piaf and Ella F, and the loving cup is filled. There are spaces here; tension built through gaps in the proceedings. Howe provides commentary too, ensuring it’s a personal narrative.
It’s all about wanderlust, the moodier piano moments offset by occasional string-driven grit, all of it peppered with an angular rattle. These bedraggled raconteurs spin yarns and tell stories; Howe holds court, a tale-telling strummer set on making an imperfect clash of tones just perfect.
After his two jazz-tinged ‘Future Standards’ sets, Howe’s tempered balladry on ‘Gathered’ captures all the beauty of everyday complex relationships, sideways glances and all that stems from such a smile. The title track reminisces on the big day and its rites of union. Howe’s a hapless and hopeless romantic at heart. Deep down.
“A wandering troubadour in search of treasured happenstance.” Quietus
It’s a chance meeting of the indie/alt country Sinatra lost in music, annotated by wordplay and set in a laidback lounge where rhyming couplets are teased by tongue twisters and an earthy ramble through familiar wonders.
“Gelb’s long-held fascination with words, particularly the way certain ones rub up against one another or encourage an allusive phrase, usually stretched over an odd meter, is a joy.” Uncut
Howe Gelb’s ‘Gathered’ is released on limited edition gold vinyl, black LP and CD on 8th March 2019.