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Gregory Alan Isakov (from the Appaloosa Bones available on Dualtone Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gregory Alan Isakov could be considered a direct musical descendant of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Tim Buckley, and all those other iconoclastic individuals who transposed a vision of modern folk music by evoking the sound of dreams and desire.
His first album in five years, Appaloosa Bones, is a continuation of that meditative motif, a haunting series of soundscapes that retain the atmospheric ambiance so essential to his delicate and defined delivery. According to the press materials that accompanied the album, Isakov’s intent was to create an album that was spacious in tone and yet immersed in contemplation and reflection. Over the course of its eleven songs, he retains that vision, creating subtle and sublime sound filtered through dense layers of guitars, banjo, violin, strings, samples, and keyboards. It is, in effect, a sweeping, surrealistic combination that finds a certain circumspect by way of both passion and poignancy.
On first glance, it might seem unlikely that an artist so intent on purveying such delicacy and precision would find a wide audience for these introspective musings. Yet, given a Grammy nomination for his last opus, 2018’s Evening Machines, and the accumulation of over a billion streams, it’s clear he has the confidence to take full advantage of a mellower muse. In this case, the stately sound of “The Fall”, the quiet caress of “Before the Sun”, the kaleidoscopic pall of “Silver Bell”, and the autumnal hues of “Watchman”, and “Feed Your Horses” result in an enchantment and allure that’s far too difficult to ignore. It provides a certain solace, a hypnotic haze that seems to bask in its own spectral sheen. Other songs — “Miles To Go”, “Terlingua”, and “Mistakes” in particular — reflect a similar warmth and radiance, a comforting caress that lingers even after their final notes fade away.
‘One day the waves will forget the ocean, and wander their way up to the shore’ Isakov croons on the lilting “One Day.” ‘One day the moon will quit being the watchman, forget just who’s she’s shining for…’
It’s that sort of wistful reflection which not only defines Isakov’s music, but also makes him such a singular presence. One can’t help but be captivated by his eloquent expression (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Gregory Alan Isakov from AMAZON
Please visit the Gregory Alan Isakov website for more information
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