Howie Gelb

The Coincidentalist (NEW WEST)

Some artists affirm life just by being as eccentric and prolific as ever. Though Howie Gelb has been more celebrated for past exploits with Giant Sand, his solo career is attracting admirers. Scottish singer KT Tunstall, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and violinist Andrew Bird all contribute. An oddly tuned, meandering piano, ghostly backing vocals and Gelb’s deep baritone tend to grab the ear. Coincidentalism sounds like existentialism with extra randomness. “Picacho Peak” movingly recalls his dad. His lyrics are as dry as the Arizona wind. “Her eyebrows suggest her heart is never at rest,” from “Looking That Way,” stirs impressions of a younger Sun Belt Leonard Cohen.

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