AIKEN promotions presents
GRANT LEE PHILLIPS & HOWE GELB
ncredible double-bill of Grant Lee Phillips & Howe Gelb will take place at Whelan’s on Saturday 11th October.
Grant Lee Phillips:
“History and legend have often found their way into my songs” reflects Grant-Lee Phillips. “But sometimes, I don’t have to look quite so far to find inspiration.” Walking in the Green Corn, is the latest album by Grant-Lee Phillips. It’s ten songs are drawn from Phillips’ intensive investigations into his native lineage. Phillips, who is Muskogee (Creek), elliptically explores the intersection of past and present, personal and political.
While the songs delve deeply into the subconscious mystery of his own back-story, they simultaneously reveal the resonance and insight of ancient myth in parallel to contemporary man’s emotions, actions, and errors. Composed in a concentrated burst over the course of a few winter months, Walking in the Green Corn came about almost too quickly to censor—the unfiltered sum of years of rumination and discovery. As the days became shorter, the nocturnal Phillips became more productive. “I’m pretty good in the morning,” he says, a smile emerging, “which for me is about 2pm. I find that in a half-awake state, I can make a little bit of headway. Then I become more conscious as the day goes on…I have to wait until the evening and the rest of the world has quieted down to resume.”What initially began as off-the-cuff home recordings, designed to capture the songs at the moment of conception, soon took on a life of its own. “Initially I figured that, somewhere down the road, I’d get some musicians together in a cathedral-like space and re-record these songs,” Phillips explains. But the disarmingly warm, bioluminescent quality of his simple home recordings had the certain weathered elegance that, in Phillips’ words, “would have driven me mad if I attempted to recreate them in a professional studio environment.” With the exception of violin and vocals by Sara Watkins (formerly of Nickel Creek) and an understated vibraphone part by Alexander Burke, everything on Walking in the Green Corn was performed, sung, and engineered by PhillipsWalking in the Green Corn comes together as an evocative penetration into our own troubled era. And yet, the album’s optimistic title track completes the album on a meditative, redemptive note—implying that the potential for change and betterment is within reach, and that perhaps the best solutions can be found by looking backwards and forward simultaneously.
Last November, Desert-folk iconoclast (SPIN) and Giant Sand visionary Howe Gelb returned with The Coincidentalist, a transfixing collection of songs steeped in the dusty and discerning Americana he first began experimenting with more than 30 years ago. The album was produced and recorded by Gelb largely in his home base of Tucson, the album is somewhere between his 40th and 50th release, but characteristic to Gelb’s quizzical self he doesn’t know exactly; he thinks it’s bad luck to know. Superstitions aside, the record, self produced by Gelb and mixed by John Parish, is his strongest in years and culminates three decades of freewheeling and forward-thinking music making either as Howe Gelb, Giant Sand, its larger incarnation Giant Giant Sand or under the guise of The Band… of Blacky Ranchette, Arizona Amp & Alternator, ‘Sno Angel and OP8.
As for what or who exactly The Coincidentalist is, Gelb explains: “The Coincidentalist is someone who can read the coincidences but who doesn’t try to figure out their meaning. For if one tries to figure out the meaning it will be lost. The coincidences aren’t there to figure out but to point the way.”
The Coincidentalist is a set of songs stitched together like a novel but which stand on their own. Opener “Vortexas” is rife with Gelb’ trademark humor and turn of phrase as he trades verses with Bonnie Prince Billy about his beloved Tucson over sparse Rhodes chords, jazzy upright bass and shuffling drums. As Gelb enters the next phase of his impressive career, The Coincidentalist sees him doing what he does best and offers a perfect opportunity to get reacquainted with him or for first time listeners to experience the wonderful world of Howe Gelb.
Tickets priced €28.00 (inc. booking fee) go on sale this Friday at 9am through www.ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets.
Strictly over 18′s, I.D. may be required.
AFTER THE GIG
Whelan’s Indie Club w/ Late Bar from 10:30pm or check out the bands playing The Midnight Hour in the upstairs venue (FREE ENTRY, 12am).