"Giant Sand is a mood," says Howe of Giant Sand, as if trying to offer a low-key explanation for his dizzying array of artistic exploration that includes a back-catalogue of some 40 albums as a singer, band-leader and producer. After growing up in Pennsylvania in the 1970's, it wasn't until he moved to Tucson, Arizona that he met his musical soul mate, the guitarist Rainer Ptacek. The two formed Giant Sandworms and issued only a handful of recordings before the worms were put to rest: since then, Giant Sand have released 24 albums - an impressive haul when considering Howe's equally prolific output under other projects including Black Ranchette and Arizona Amp & Alternator as well as his solo releases.
Howe, though, is definitely not content to rest on his laurels. Giant Sand's 2000 album Chore Of Enchantment has been declared one of the Best 1000 Records Ever Made and scooped up plaudits from NME and The Guardian amongst others, with the former insisting the record cemented his reputation as "a founding father of modern Americana". His most recent solo project, meanwhile - 2006's Sno Angel Like You - earned a 5 star review in Mojo and was described by Q as "showcasing an immense generosity of spirit and poetic warmth". Rather than retrospect, then, this is a time for celebration. Howe and his band will be marking the 25th anniversary of the release of Valley Of Rain by hosting a very special evening of brand new collaborations and performances. As they play some of their choicest cuts from their back catalogue, they'll be joined by Kristin Hersch, guitarist and founder of the seminal art-rock band Throwing Muses. "I'll jump at any chance to be on stage with the wild and wacky, kooky and cozy Howe" says Hersch."With Howe, I never know exactly what will happen, but it's always great to be a part of it."