Giant Sand - ProVISIONS (4 stars)

Giant Sand - ProVISIONS

Arizona-bred Howe Gelb has been reconstructing North American country music under various guises and with numerous collaborators for the past 20 years. Almost twice as many records later it’s hard to tell the difference between his solo projects, his side projects and his oldest project, Giant Sand, the loose-knit collective originally formed with members of Calexico and now made up of Danish musicians from Gelb’s adopted European home.

The boy-girl duet ‘Stranded Pearl’ recalls Opiate, Gelb’s collaboration with Lisa Germano; the choral ‘Without A Word’ is reminiscent of his recent Canadian gospel ‘solo’ record, Sno’ Angel; the moody, reverb-drenched ‘Pitch & Sway’ is pure Calexico. But what’s in a name? When the music’s this fine, eloquent and evocative but playful and driving, too, who cares what Gelb chooses to call his latest collection of 13 songs. Meanwhile, the wonky trip hop of ‘Muck Machine’ suggests the Arizonian’s still got a few new tricks up his sleeve.


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