There is a sweet, acoustic ease to the music Gregory Alan Isakov writes and performs. The Colorado based musician's newest album, The Weatherman, is evocative...the kind of listening experience that has a tendency to flicker life's most savory moments by the mind's eye as it cycles through. As we heard one NPR producer recently put it, it's like lying in the back of a pick-up truck, staring up at the stars, which sadly, we can't top in the imagery department.
What's interesting then in such comfort is how it's the product of a lifetime of wandering ways. Gregory was born in South Africa, settled in Philadelphia for a time, ultimately gazing west to make his home in Colorado. He's been there for some time, but there's always the touring. Gregory and his bandmates have been hustling on the road for years. With the release of The Weatherman, we suspect things will only get more hectic. The album's a sterling, no frills kind of acoustic collection, offering grass stained prairie songs full of wonder, love, and an appreciation for the outside world.
Having had the record on repeat most of the summer, we jumped at the opportunity to welcome Gregory and his mates over to our place recently. Brandishing a few acoustic guitars, a banjo, fiddle, and cello, our latest version of the in-office session is a string lover's dream. Take a moment and enjoy a few pleasant cuts and if you like what you hear be sure to pick up The Weatherman.
I haunted all the alleys, Lord, I drifted down the valleys, yeah, I'm just trying to find my way to you Swam across the Poncha, took a train to Cataloo opened up my guitar case and all the songs were blue, I haunted all the... Well, Grace she's gone, she's a half-written poem, she went out for cigarettes and never came home, and I swallowed the sun and screamed and wailed straight down to the dirt so I could find her trail, spread out across the Great Divide Well, I just came to talk, Saint Valentine, I never pictured you living here with the rats and the vines, ain't that my old heart hanging out on your lines, you're all fucked up, Saint Valentine. Now I circle the bars on the promenade, while the girls in the glass, they're just throwing me shade, and I'm saving my coins up for Jingling Jane, she's out plucking strings in the pouring she's out plucking strings in the pouring rain. See I'm all crooked feet, Saint Valentine, I've circled this map till it caught on fire, Now Grace she's left you just skin and bone, well, you hang up your hat, but you can't call i home, you've tried and you've tried, but you can't call it home, you're the loneliest one, Saint Valentine, you're the loneliest one, Saint Valentine, you're all fucked up, Saint Valentine. We recorded the whole record in this little cabin up near where we live in Boulder, and the whole thing happened, pretty quickly, for us I guess, it was about a year of recording. But a lot of the songs just, we kept really simple, the arrangements were really concise. I love it, I love playing and I really like writing songs. It's just one of those things you can never master, you can never...there's always something deeper to get to, and so, it's been this nice constant...craft, I guess, that I've been working with. The night fell with bicycle bells, the dark had wooden teeth, Oh we broke on up to hill country, the air was thin and sweet, lord, the air was thin and sweet She held onto my coat that night, like a kid lost in her sleeves, oh we warmed the ground, we hushed our sound, we slept on walking feet, lord, we slept on walking feet. Oh darlin', pardon me, can you help me remember, when we were just flying free, and we burned from our bodies, and we were all flicker and flame, and we danced till the morning, darlin', pardon me. Often that night, you can hear 'em bright, the sirens of the sea, oh and city birds and alley girls, they all just sang for free, oh they all just sang for free. Oh darlin', pardon me, but do I look familiar, when we were just larkspur and leaves, we were strung through the tether, and we were all silver and stone, we were the lust of the miners, darlin', pardon me. That sky she glowed all calico like phosphor in the sea, to the ground we fall, she owns us all, kings and boys and beast, oh kings and boys and beast. Oh darlin', pardon me, but do I look familiar, when we were just flying free, and we burned from a freight train, and we were flickers of truth in the smile of a salesman, and we were all buried jewels 'neath the grass in the suburbs, and we were all living proof, oh darlin', pardon me
Gregory Alan Isakov's The Weatherman recently debuted at #5 on Billboard's Folk chart and #1 on Billboard's Mountain and Pacific Heatseekers charts (Suitcase Town Music). Furthermore, following a recent feature on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, the album reached #1 on iTunes' Singer/Songwriter chart. The album also continues to receive widespread critical praiseThe New York Times featured an exclusive full album stream of the album, while Denver Westword proclaims, "Bob Dylan once sang, 'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,' and you don't need to be a singer-songwriter to realize that Isakov has created something truly stunning here." In celebration of the release, Isakov is currently in the midst of a North American tour. See below for complete details.
Recorded and mixed outside the quiet mountain town of Nederland, CO, the 13-song album was produced by Isakov along with Jamie Mefford. Of making the record, Isakov notes, "I wanted to make something that felt genuine. We recorded everything with analogue gear and mixed it on tape, which gives the songs a raw and vulnerable feeling." He goes on to add, "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."
The Weatherman is Isakov's third full-length release and follows 2009's This Empty Northern Hemisphere, which the Denver Post praised as "an artistic masterwork" and Paste Magazine described as "quietly lush" and "deeply vibrant."
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now calling Colorado home, Isakov is a lifelong traveler. In the past year, other musicians Isakov has performed alongside include Blind Pilot, Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers and Ani DiFranco. With a degree in horticulture, Isakov balances the art of making and exhibiting his music with the art of gardening and connecting to the land.