Influenced by the rural, blue-collar lyricism of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen, it wasn’t long before Colorado-based singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov’s blend of dusty folk and moody Americana began turning heads. Emerging in 2003 with the debut album Rust Colored Stones — he releases all of his records on his independent label, Suitcase Town Music — Isakov went on to find success with 2007′s That Sea, The Gambler. His atmospheric blend of folk and rural chamber pop eventually found its way to television, with songs appearing in episodes of Girls, Rectify, and Californication, among others. A flair for the cinematic led Isakov to release an LP with the Colorado Symphony in 2016, and in 2018 he earned a Grammy nomination for the album Evening Machines. Isakov’s sixth full-length effort, the Southwest-inspired Appaloosa Bones, appeared in 2023.
Isakov was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he began touring with a band at the age of 16 before eventually relocating to Colorado to hone his talents as a solo artist. He released his debut album, Rust Colored Stones, in 2003, followed by Songs for October (2005), That Sea, The Gambler (2007), and The Empty Northern Hemisphere (2009), the latter of which spawned the single “If I Go, I’m Goin,” which appeared in the fourth season of the popular Showtime series Californication. Arriving in 2013, The Weatherman included the singles “Time Will Tell” and “Suitcase Full of Sparks,” the latter of which was featured on an episode of the popular NBC crime thriller The Blacklist.
In 2016, he released the ambitious Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, which saw him reworking material from past albums with a full orchestra. Isakov recorded his next studio long-player, Evening Machines, at home on his working three-acre farm — in addition to making music, he sells vegetable seeds and grows his own market crops. The lush, 12-song set, whittled down from 40, was mixed by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, the Decemberists) and released in October 2018, earning Isakov a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.
A five-year hiatus preceded the release of his sixth studio album. Appaloosa Bones arrived in 2023 and saw Isakov deliver a homespun set of spare, yet texturally expansive folk songs inspired by traveling the American Southwest. ~ James Christopher Monger