Friday, May 6
Parade of Small Horses is the best Neil Young album to come down the pike in a long time, but the party responsible is a journeyman guitarist and singer-songwriter named Christian Gibbs.
Performing as C. Gibbs, he will bring a solo acoustic show to Indy audiences twice in the coming days: Saturday at Radio Radio and May 13 at the Melody Inn.
Gibbs has a wide-ranging professional background that includes sideman stints with acts as diverse as Modern English and Foetus. In the '90s, he made three well-received albums of roots-rock with his New York-based trio the Morning Glories.
For his fourth solo album, released by the indie Dren Records and Rubric labels, Gibbs has assembled a rich, cohesive collection of rock, folk, country and western guitar songs. According to the publicity materials, he wrote much of the material during a stay in a guest house on the grounds of Big Pink, the upstate New York property where Bob Dylan and the Band once lived and worked.
An audacious lyricist and versatile singer, Gibbs delivers soft ballads in a falsetto croon and spouts dark, surreal stories in the diabolical-preacher style of the Fall's Mark E. Smith.
Parade features a strong backing lineup of bass, drums, piano/organ and pedal steel that can play straight country with credibility, but they're not afraid to crank it up or experiment with off-kilter rhythms. At times, they achieve that unhinged, vaguely psychedelic quality that characterizes the best alt-roots music, from Mr. Young to Tom Waits to Wilco.
Though the Indy shows will not include this fine band, they offer a chance to see an under-appreciated artist up close.