A Ghost in the Garden: Isakov at the Schnitz

For any of you lucky enough to be at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall last Monday night, October 8, 2018, well, you know how special it was seeing Gregory Alan Isakov perform with the Portland Symphony. Talk about the blend of two amazing things…and the results? Simply stunning. Considered by some to be like an early Bob Dylan of our time (of course Bob is still rocking now), Isakov’s take on acoustically-driven folk is so well-crafted, so meaningful and so emotionally-charged, well, I may just run short of superlatives. O.K. I’m clearly a fan. So if you’re not familiar with this amazing artist, it’s time to get acquainted. If you are already “in the know,” then perhaps you’ll still find a gem or two below ;).

Gregory Alan Isakov and band playing with the Portland Symphony. Absolutely wonderful. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Gregory Alan Isakov and band playing with the Portland Symphony. Absolutely wonderful. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Some Music Samples

First of all, you have to know just a bit more about Isakov (as I call him) to full appreciate his music. Of course the music stands alone, sans any backstory, but the facts of how Isakov operates just adds to the authenticity of what he writes and plays. Long story short, Isakov maintains and working farm that sells seeds and produce on the local level in Colorado. And when farming season is in, Isakov is “all farmer.” He works his fields and gardens, and finds time to jam in his barn at night. And when farming season is over, well, that’s when Isakov tours and spends longer time periods in the studio. Now, as you listen to Isakov’s music, you’ll hear all kinds of tales that emanate from this lifestyle. He is in touch with the earth, the beauty of the outdoors, and the near total lack of continual glamour that so many other artists lose themselves in. This guy’s the real deal…and his music is the showcase.

Since I wasn’t supposed to record live video at the Schnitz, here are some YouTube clips that highlight a couple of my very favorite songs:

Light Year - This Empty Northern Hemisphere (album version)

Black and Blue - That Sea The Gambler (album version)

If I’m Go, I’m Going - This Empty Northern Hemisphere

Second Chances - The Weatherman (album version)

Second Chances - The Weatherman (Portland Pickathon, 2014)

Well, there are soooo many more amazing songs to enjoy from Isakov and his amazing band. Check out their full discography, and the latest album of course, on Isakov’s site here. And next time he swings through town, well, don’t miss it (if you did)!

Dan Meyers