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And he's doing his part to chip in. Gelb co-wrote the song "Poor Boy, Minor Key" with Ward for Vincent. The song is the strangest, most old-timey track on the record, beginning with jazz piano and a light sway that sounds lifted from silent movies and eventually adding a dusty electric guitar. It's the kind of Americana experiment Giant Sand has indulged in for more than 20 years, and also the kind of thing that makes Ward admire Gelb so closely.
"His ability to play with music, to try going out on a limb for the sake of yourself, is completely inspiring," Ward says.
Ultimately, Gelb may carry weight, but Fahey will always be Ward's key musical compass. For him, transfiguration is an ideal concept -- metamorphosis, redemption, rising from the mountain after suffering. It happened to Blind Joe Death, it could happen to Vincent O'Brien down the road, and it definitely seems to be happening to Ward as an artist.
"To me, it was a perfect-sounding word on that level," Ward says. "The music that I witnessed at the service changed the way I looked at that word.
"I love the idea."
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