Premiered on Rolling Stone's website on Friday, we're pleased to give you a little taster of what to expect from Giant Giant Sand's new album Tucson which is due out on Fire Records in June. "Forever and a Day" is an early scene in this 'country-rock opera' of sorts and sees Howe Gelb in peak song-writing condition. Howe will be over in London playing a solo show on 31 May (postponed from Tuesday 3 April) and will be available for interviews on that day when he is here.
Thinking that Giant Sand could never get any more giant, Howe Gelb has done just that by regrouping, expanding and magnifying his vision with the newest version of Giant Sand, calling it (appropriately enough) GIANT GIANT SAND. As a sort of homage, he's named the album "Tucson" after the town he's called home for forty years. This self-described country rock opera, by one of music's leading risk-takers, is set to be released on June 11th, 2012 on Fire Records.
Taking place in the town of Tucson, the story revolves around a "semi grizzled man with overt boyish naïveté" who sets off to escape the trappings of hometown life and embarks on a life-changing road trip; eschewing all his worldly goods and leaving behind what he has loved, encountering jail at the Mexican border, finding new old love at a train station saloon, all while 'the end of the world' provides the landscape game changer. The album is a dusty work of art, conjuring images of the all knowing desert and a confused river inside the cacti-strewn soundscape.
The inspiration for assembling these collaborators (or cast if you will) for an album was the idea of a country rock opera, a vision that has followed Howe for decades.
In GIANT GIANT SAND you will recognize the members all hailing from Denmark who have been a part of Giant Sand for the last 10 years (Thøger T. Lund, Peter Dombernowski, Anders Pederesen and Nikolaj Heyman) plus now including a string section, as well as the stunning pedal steel player Maggie Bjorklund.
In addition, you'll be introduced to the new musicians from Howe Gelb's native Tucson making their Giant Sand debuts along with long time collaborator Lonna Kelley lending her smoldering warble from Phoenix.
The Tucson GIANT GIANT SAND lineup includes Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan and Jon Villa who bring their Mex-Amer-i-can plunk to the album with a permeating cumbia style of playing, drawing on South American traditional music. Joining them all is a string section from Aarhus, Denmark introduced to the band by Señor Lopez (where coincidentally the rest of Giant Sand are from) including violinists Asger Christensen amd Iris Jakobsen, who, ironically, was born in Tucson.
"No man could've planned this mother better when fate is the founding father."
- obscure country rock opera expression
'Tucson' will be available on CD / 2XLP / Digital Download