...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rustic warmth and seeping wistfulness

The honest, richly-spun folk sounds of Gregory Alan Isakov captivated a packed house in Denver last week as he opened for the Calexico show. I've written about the marvelous skiffle of Isakov's "The Salt and The Sea" tune before, and have been appreciated the bright talent of this local artist in several venues across Colorado this year. I love to hear Gregory sing; his voice is really something special in the singer-songwriter pantheon, with hints of sly knowing, balanced with a warm and soaring verve.

"Gonna write one for you, the unwritable girl . . ."

Unwritable Girl - Gregory Alan Isakov
[from his 2007 album That Sea, The Gambler]

All pictures of Gregory's set with Calexico are here.

Isakov is playing again this Friday night at Boulder's B-Side Lounge with Wisconsin folk artist Peter Mulvey. When I ripped out the ad in The Onion at a local coffee shop, I knew I recognized the name Mulvey from somewhere fantastic. Turns out that I've long loved a collaborative set that Mulvey did with two other excellent "dusky-Americana" musicians in the same vein: Jeffrey Foucault and Chris Smither. I've listened to this set from WPLN many times when I need an infusion of something . . . authentic.

In addition to a cover of "Buckets of Rain" that gets me every single time, this set also includes one of my favorite sad songs of the last few years, "Northbound 35."

I mean seriously:

We fought all night
and then we danced in your kitchen
You were as much in my hands
As water or darkness or nothing
Can ever be held

It's just flashes that we own
Little snapshots
made from breath and from bone
And out on the darkling plain alone
They light up the sky

Agonizingly gorgeous in the sadness.

Train Home - Chris Smither

29 Cent Head - Peter Mulvey
Stripping Cane - Jeffrey Foucault

Lola - Chris Smither

Stranded in a Limousine - Peter Mulvey

Northbound 35 - Jeffrey Foucault
**highest rec**
Crocodile Man - Chris Smither
Shirt - Peter Mulvey

Secretariat - Jeffrey Foucault

Outside In - Chris Smither

The Road To Mallow - Peter Mulvey

Buckets of Rain (Dylan) - Jeffrey Foucault


TICKETS: Gregory Alan Isakov with Peter Mulvey
Friday, Dec 12 - B-Side Lounge in Boulder

[audio via]

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At December 11, 2008 6:20 PM, Blogger clairehelene7 said...

Oh, I am so glad I found your blog. :) This set sounds *awesome* - I can't wait to listen to it.

At December 11, 2008 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a great set. I had seen Chris and Peter many times when I heard first heard this. It introduced me to Jeffrey and have been a huge fan since. B.o.R. is awesome! See any or all live if/when you get the chance. These three have soul.

At December 11, 2008 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been a number of really good folk artists from Wisconsin lately (including Mulvey and Foucault). Another artist who fits that same mold is Hayward Williams, who has recorded with Mulvey and played with Foucault. You should check his stuff out as well.

At December 12, 2008 5:25 PM, Blogger mandy said...

Gregory is one of my very, very favorites. :) Glad you like him too. His new album is coming out in late winter or early spring. Can't wait.

At December 14, 2008 7:25 PM, Blogger dkaller said...

good stuff keep it comin

At December 15, 2008 8:37 AM, Blogger Rural Music Hipster said...

I just posted my best of 2008, We have some overlap. I dig your list. You can see mine over at dynamicmeter.blogspot.com


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