In 2006, sweet-natured and very sincere peddler of Americana Howe Gelb released one of the all-time great American folk albums. Relocating from his desert hometurf, he walled himself in a snowy wood cabin with a band and a Canadian gospel choir. The result that emerged is the kind of record that can soften the spiritual core of the religious and secular alike. From my perspective at least, the power of religion lies not in magic, but in camaraderie, and on ‘Sno Angel Like You‘, these are one and the same. Just as you can smell the resentment and guilt within Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the social harmony in this record is part of its DNA. I’m not an expert on Gelb’s work, with or without his band Giant Sand, but his presence here is humble and wise. As a writer, he demonstrates a committed curiosity about human nature, and the psychological needs which point us in the direction of spirituality, philosophy and despair. The lyrics are questioning, and though there are no answers, there is a response. That response is embodied in the open-hearted music itself, submerging doubt in celebration and community.