ARTS Pick: Gregory Alan Isakov

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Troubadour Gregory Alan Isokov performs his poignant folk songs at the Jefferson on Thursday and at the Redwing Roots Music Festival on Friday. Troubadour Gregory Alan Isokov performs his poignant folk songs at the Jefferson on Thursday and at the Redwing Roots Music Festival on Friday.

Now living in Colorado by way of Philadelphia by way of Johannesburg, South Africa, indie folk singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov first found his roots in song.  “I’ve always had this sense about music and writing, that I sort of have to do it. Like I’ll implode without it. I probably wouldn’t do it if I felt any other way,” he states in his press bio. With the release of his third full-length album, The Weatherman the up-and-comer celebrates the ordinary by being anything but, weaving subtle lyrical masterpieces through his perfected brand of folk.

Based in the finger-plucked guitar arpeggios of Gillian Welch and the spine-tingling vocal harmonies of Iron & Wine, The Weatherman retains the melancholy grace of Isakov’s previous records. However, his sound has also deepened in maturity and nuance. An avid gardener, Isakov took a year and a half to craft his latest songs during a Walden-esque stint outside the quiet mountain town of Nederland, Colorado. Reconnecting with the earth, Isakov’s songs take on a breathtaking pastoral feel, adding a unique twist to his latest work. “I wanted to make something that felt genuine, “Isakov said, “We recorded everything with analogue gear and mixed it on tape, which gives the songs a raw and vulnerable feeling.”

While this dusty folk sound accentuates his moody Americana lyrics, Isakov’s rural blue collar originals are what make first-time listeners instant fans. Influenced by the honest heartland lyricisms of Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen, Isakov is perhaps a poet or a troubadour more than a songwriter, celebrating small miracles alongside bitter heartache. Even the title of his latest album is hauntingly poetic. “To me, the idea of a weatherman is really powerful. There’s a guy on television or on the radio telling us the future, and nobody cares. It’s this daily mundane miracle, and I think the songs I chose are about noticing the beauty in normal, everyday life.” True to his vision, The Weatherman reminds us to appreciate what lies behind the glass, be that the natural wonders outside our windowpanes or the  weatherman beyond the screen. ~Katharyn Gadient

Isakov appearances:

Live In-Studio at WNRN on July 11 at 11:30am LISTEN

Jefferson Theater on July 11 at 8pm

Redwing Roots Music Festival on July 12 at 7pm

 

 

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