Gregory Alan Isakov Plays Hotel Cafe in Hollywood

Courtesy A.V. Club.

There’s something hauntingly beautiful about Gregory Alan Isakov and the music he creates. While quickly labeled as a singer/songwriter, Isakov really goes beyond that one grouping to add more of a raw folk or indie sound. In many ways, his music will be taking the elite spot of filling the void left while Bon Iver is on hiatus. The two artists run a similar parallel with their mix of reverberated guitars and seemingly lazy vocals.

In a live setting, Isakov brings intimacy and dedication to the stage. At a recent set at the Hotel Café in Hollywood, fans flocked to see one of the main rising stars on the scene. Mintues before showtime, with the place packed, Isakov slowly walked through the crowd with many oblivious to his presence. He worked his way forward, making to the stage where he sat on a stool, facing the crowd, armed with his guitar. The following 45 minutes soon became a lost blur of music. Song after song, Isakov only stopped once or twice to speak to the crowd, often joking about how he hates to talk between songs. Anytime a song would end, fans would yell out requests, breaking the aural harmony created by Isakov.

Isakov’s most recent release, This Empty Northern Hemisphere, has shown a considerable amount of growth for the artist. His music has developed and received praise from key music outlets such as Paste Magazine and A.V. Club. In my mind, This Empty Northern Hemisphere has found the perfect balance of simplistic moments and soul drenched vocal presence. Isakov’s album deserves the praise it has received and raises the bar for his next release. Between that time and now, I’ll fill my car rides with Isakov’s music and standout singles such as “Big Black Car.”

Big Black Car

06 Big Black Car