2017 bio - howe gelb / giant sand



born in wilkes-barre. pennsylvania .. a small factory laden / coal mining town .. raised by wolves



alvino rey and his singing guitar become a televised influence



pennsylvania home destroyed by flood and tucson arizona happens in its wake

bestowed free 4 track recording time at npr affiliate wvia hosted and engineered by george graham .. records several sessions including his country duo “wow and flutter” and in the punk band “the stains” ... as well as his own rock opera 'zeqe 24.088'

meets * rainer ptacek * in tucson



giant sandworms happen with rainer

along with billy sedlmayr and dave seger

after the band becomes too popular in tucson, they relocate to the lower east side in NYC for a year

giant sand emerges from the ashes of giant sandworms with bassist scott garber along with drummers winston watson and tommy larkins

records / releases 2 albums by his own country band the band of ... blacky ranchette and records / releases 2 giant sand albums

produces rainer and das combo’s “barefoot rock with ...”

begins touring life in the USA and europe

meets and marries new bassist paula brown from the go go’s .. baby daughter born in hollywood

discovers drummer john convertino & invites him into the band

records and releases 3 or 4 more giant sand albums and another the band of ... blacky ranchette before the decade ends.

relocates to joshua tree area near pioneertown after divorce

befriends pappy



discovers bassist joey burns & invites him into the band

moves back to tucson and suggests the band follow

giant sand become a buzz band

discovers grandaddy

records about 8 more giant sand albums and some solo records too

re invents the band as op8 with special guest lisa germano

rainer diagnosed with brain cancer

produces benefit/tribute album “the inner flame” along with rainer fan robert plant

marries sofie albertsen from denmark

rainer dies

band begins to divide into 2

rhythm section form calexico

baby son is born



tours solo more frequently

discovers m. ward and releases his first album

relocates to aarhus denmark for 5 months to have another baby

giant sand is reinvented with a band of danish players

records several more giant sand albums

records more solo albums, one with a canadian gospel choir (receiving a 5 star review in mojo) 

and another with andalucian flamenco gypsies co produced w/ fernando vacas featuring maestro raimundo amador

re-issues entire back catalogue on fire records ( about 50 albums )



giant sand expand into giant giant sand, doubling it’s previous size, combining equal parts danes and new young tucson players

produces kt tunstall’s album 'invisible empire/crescent moon'

assists in the debut album of dutch actress carice van houten (melisandre in game of thrones) 'see you on the ice' and pens her second single "particle of light"

howe is discovered by gary briggs at new west records

releases solo album “the coincidentalist” for new west records which features m. wardsteve shelley + thøger lund along with guest appearances by will oldham, kt tunstall + andrew bird

produces sylvie simmons’s debut album 'sylvie'

between the exponential cubed expansion of the band and its sheer audacity of a 3 decade lifespan, records giant³ sand album 'heartbreak pass' at various locations all over the planet with many guests in a variety of line-ups from intimate cluster to a giant giant giant throng

the new album marks 30 years since the first giant sand release of 'valley of rain'

decides to then put the band to bed so as to end on a high note after enjoying the best touring years ever

produces the john doe album 'the westerner'



delves into the lost art of the piano standard. where did it go ? no one alive seems to know. 

releases 'future standards'


“His work has never acknowledged any borders that might theoretically exist between mariachi waltzes, psychedelic guitar rock, uptown piano jazz, or dusty improvised C&W“ (Pitchfork).


 “In search of treasured happenstance, Howe Gelb is an enigma, an inspiration and some kind of genius” (The Quietus).