Fort Lowell Records celebrates it’s inaugural year with Record Store Day 2011 and the "godfather of alt-country,” the "elder ambassador of desert rock," Howe Gelb. Combining two of Gelb’s projects onto one 7inch record, ‘Sno Angel + Melted Wires lend a voice of comfort in a time of need. ‘Sno Angel, featuring Gelb with his Canadian based touring band backed by the Voices Of Praise choir, provide encouragement to the listener with their track “Spiral,” recorded in 2006 and taken from their live CD ‘Sno Angel Winging It (OW OM Records, 2009), presented here on vinyl for the very first time. Meanwhile, the previously unreleased track “Cordoba in Slow Motion,” recorded nearly three years later during Gelb’s Melted Wires sessions, tactfully, without lyrics, compliments it’s counterpart by providing the necessary space for meditation.
‘Sno Angel is not gospel music, in theme or in content. Gelb describes the project as “a grand experiment to see if we could mesh the sounds of the muck I make with the dizzying effect of the glorious sound [the choir] makes.” While recording the studio album ‘Sno Angel Like You (Thrill Jockey, 2006) during an Ottawa winter, Gelb was inspired by the drastic beauty of snow and a cold not often felt in Tucson (it was -43° at the time). Although “Spiral” was not included with the original ‘Sno Angel studio album, it was first released on their live CD; the same version made available here by Fort Lowell Records with this 7inch release. Eventually, a studio recording of “Spiral” later appeared on Giant Sand’s proVISIONS (Yep Roc Records, 2008) as a duet with Henriette Sennenvaldt.
Melted Wires is a project Gelb formed from an informal cluster, two from Giant Sand and two from Calexico, which merited a sweet symbol of holiday spirit and friendship above all else. It included Gelb’s old friend and band mate, John Convertino on drums, Jacob Valenzuela on trumpet, and Thøger T. Lund on upright bass. They gathered and played in a way unlike most sessions, but much the same as the fabled W. Eugene Smith recordings from the late 50s / early 60s in his infamous New York ‘jazz loft’. Those kinds of jams were players playing for themselves and each other. This kind of capture was unlike any studio session or live gig. The session you have here called ‘Melted Wires’ is symbiotic with the sound of that jazz loft: players playing for the sheer love of it. It has a wonderful looseness, a playfulness that couldn’t happen in any formal recording or live presentation.
‘Sno Angel + Melted Wires may represent two sides to Howe Gelb, but the common thread allows these magnificently crafted songs, written and recorded years apart from one another, to speak as one and provide a wisdom and guidance much needed, …as, in Gelb’s own words, “another generation would be nice.”
Previous Press Accolades for ‘Sno Angel + Melted Wires
“(Gelb) he brilliantly fuses rock and gospel in a widely-adored career high that juxtaposes his rough, salt of the earth voice and guitar with the warm, sweeping soul of the Voices Of Praise choir.” – Watershed UK
“Gelb and crew manage to wrap so much of the human condition up into what is ultimately joyous music that it could hearten even the most jaded.” - Popshifter
"a band of stylistically unique players, with a looseness and a relaxed quality (yes, even for Gelb) that we rarely would be privy to as listeners.” – Tucson Weekly
“Tasty, jazz-inflected alt-heartland music” – A Fool in the Forest