by Linda Ray
The boy likes to stay busy.
Last year between tour stops with Howe Gelb's Giant Giant Sand, local gigs with his breakaway bar-land dance outfit, Chicha Dust, and midwifing an album by Billy Sedlmayr, Gabriel Sullivan recorded a set of new original music in, where else, Denmark, just to keep things simple. While waiting for that release, recording sessions for a new Chicha Dust release, and an impending European tour opening for and accompanying Howe Gelb, Sullivan's keeping busy by writing and recording a new song every day, no exceptions.
Saturday at Club Congress, he shared a handful of his more successful daily endeavors, a project he's calling "The Crucible," and a crowd favorite or two from his Taraf de Tucson debut None of This Is Mine, but invested most of the set in his wide-ranging new material, inviting past collaborators Lonna Kelley and Brian Lopez to join him.
Tucson's favorite daughter of Phoenix Lonna Kelley opened solo-electric with a mostly heart-wrenching set, punctuated by a charming ode to her son at age 5. The multi-hued artistic expressions covering her guitar might have represented his aesthetic. Kelley's lyric poetry turns on a dime, with as many ways to catch a listener off-guard as her music, which, while unmistakeably ballad-like, floats in lovely loops, as unpredictably as a falling leaf.