Giant Giant Sand: Tuscon

Raising hell in Arizona.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

The term ‘country rock opera’ is not one that naturally fills you with confidence, and yet that’s exactly what Giant (now even Gianter) Sand mainman Howe Gelb has set out to create here.

Telling the tale of a man who waves goodbye to his home town, middle finger aloft (‘so long suckers, I’m on my way’), his adventures in dusty Americana are made magical by the warm, intuitive musicianship by the assembled band surrounding Gelb’s gorgeously grizzled vocals, particularly Maggie Bjorklund‘s beautiful slide guitar work.

And so as we breathlessly flit from the Tex-Mex stomp of Forever And A Day to the pure country romance of Lost Love, to the sultry jazz of Ready Or Not in which the caramel-voiced Lonna Kelly takes centre stage for a feline moment that’s pure Peggy Lee, it’s impossible not to get lost in the story.

Just don’t even think about making it into a stage musical, Howe.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.