One got the sense during his first-ever show in Spokane last year—a sold-out gig at The Bartlett—that Gregory Alan Isakov would be back. Now it is so, and he's coming back big.
Isakov, a master of atmospheric folk-rock that's taken him from the small Colorado ranch where he lives to play shows all over the world, is coming back to play a show at The Knitting Factory on Aug. 5, accompanied by his band and accompanied by a group called the Ghost Orchestra.
Isakov's songs reflect his life spent on the move, from his native South Africa to Philadelphia and eventually Colorado — along with years of touring with both his band and solo — and while they can be sad, delicate things, his live show last fall proved anything but. Playing solo other than a few songs when he was accompanied by opener Laurie Shook or guitarist Justin Landis, Isakov smiled often and joked constantly between songs.
While his show at the Bartlett was a sparse, solo affair, albeit a highly entertaining one, this go-round, maybe Spokane will get the full Isakov live experience that's earned him critical raves and comparisons to fellow sonic painters like Paul Simon and killer lyricists like Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. In June, a collaboration with the Colorado Symphone on his music will be released.
Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...