Howe Gelb & A Band of Gypsies Alegrias

Howe Gelb & A Band of Gypsies Alegrias
Howe Gelb has managed such great longevity because of his ability to reinvent himself. Via bands like OP8, the Band of Blacky Ranchette and, of course, Giant Sand, he has stuck around for more than 25 years, thanks to a revolving door philosophy for bandmates. His latest collaborators are quite literally a Band of Gypsies, a group of Spanish musicians that include virtuoso guitarist Raimundo Amador, and it makes for quite the heady mix. The most remarkable thing about Alegrias is that rather than being limited by the flamenco theme, it thrives because of it. Gelb revisits a half-dozen of his old songs, something that brings some new life to them or a new perspective, at the very least, which is likely to put the listener more in a Calexico state of mind. Gelb's tales still have a spaghetti western air about them, but the music tends to lighten the mood even when the lyrics are especially dark. He also knows when it's best to sit back and let the Spaniards take the lead, creating the wonderful atmosphere that permeates every song. This is a very successful partnership that Gelb should definitely return to again sooner rather than later. (Fire)