GREGORY ALAN ISAKOVwith special guest The Milk Carton Kids
$1 per ticket will go to Honor the Earth, whose mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.
Gregory Alan Isakov wanted to pare it all back on Appaloosa Bones, the Colorado-based singer’s new album. Arrangement-wise, the impulse to keep things simple was a pendulum swing away from his Grammy-nominated 2018 album, Evening Machines.
“I set out to make a record that was really bare bones,” Isakov says. “I wanted to go backward a little bit, because Evening Machines was such a deep dive into arrangements. I wanted to have more of a raw experience with this one.”
Isakov played many of the instruments on Appaloosa Bones himself. He recorded in a studio tucked away in a barn on his property outside of Boulder, Colorado, where he helps grow produce for CSA members, local restaurants, and an area food bank. The resulting album is intimate and hushed, but maybe not as spare as what Isakov initially had in mind. The eleven songs on the album are full of lush vocal harmonies and layers of instrumental textures that blend guitar, banjo, piano, and various other keyboards. There are even some songs with a classic repeating chorus, which isn’t always a standard feature in Isakov’s music.
“I’m always the campfire song ruiner,” he says, laughing. “I love a chorus, I’m a huge pop music fan, but I don’t usually think of songs like verse-chorus-bridge. They’re sort of just a ride, you know? I hope they take the listener some place different than where they started.”
That’s surely part of what has endeared him to both fans and critics, who have gravitated toward what NPR Music calls his “emotionally evocative songwriting style” ever since his first studio album, 2007’s That Sea, the Gambler. Born in South Africa, Isakov immigrated with his family to Philadelphia in 1986. After horticulture school in Boulder, he settled down in Colorado and began making music, including This Empty Northern Hemisphere 2009), The Weatherman (2013), and a 2016 album he recorded with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.