Two special evenings of timeless songwriting from well-traveled troubadour
Gregory Alan Isakov
830 E. Burnside St.
Portland, OR, 97214
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Gregory Alan Isakov
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and calling Colorado home, Gregory Alan Isakov has been traveling all his life. Songs that hone a masterful quality beyond his years tell a story of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place.
Music has been a stabilizing and constant force. “I’ve always had this sense about music and writing that I sort of have to do it. Like I’ll implode without it. I probably wouldn’t do it if I felt any other way.”
His song-craft lends to the deepest lyrical masterpieces, with hints of his influences, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. He has been described as “strong, subtle, a lyrical genius,” but the
￼source of his writing often remains a mystery to him. “My songs have nothing to do with me; they have a life of their own. A lot of times I won’t know what a song is about when I’m writing it. It just has a certain feeling about it.”
Isakov has played numerous music festivals and venues across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. When he is not on the road or writing, he is usually in his garden. A degree in horticulture might seem contradictory to a life spent in motion, but Isakov finds balance in the quiet concentration of the work, creating roots that keep him connected to home.
His new album, The Weatherman, was recorded mostly in solitude outside the quiet mountain town of Nederland, Colorado over the course of a year and a half. "I wanted to make something that felt genuine. We recorded everything with analogue gear and mixed it on tape, which gives the songs a raw and vulnerable feeling."
The title Isakov chose for the record reflects the nature of his external surroundings as much as his inner experiences. References to the weather are a reoccurring theme in Isakov's writing, but there is a deeper meaning behind the name.
"To me, the idea of a weatherman is really powerful. There's a guy on television or on the radio telling us the future, and nobody cares. It's this daily mundane miracle, and I think the songs I chose are about noticing the beauty in normal, everyday life."
Sera Cahoone is a long way from home. Growing up the daughter of a dynamite salesman in the Colorado foothills, she got her start on the drums at 11. A year later, her skills had become so promising, her mom started taking her to dive bars to sit in with the scruffy old bluesmen. By the time she even picked up a guitar, she had been so shaped by these things – the dynamite, the blues, the woods and the hills – it's no surprise she went on to earn a reputation as one of the strongest songwriters in Seattle's ever-vibrant Americana scene.
She moved north in 1998 to open a snowboard/skateboard shop but quickly found herself backing lo-fi outfit Carissa's Weird on drums. Since that band split in '03, she's lent her sticks to folks as variant as Carolina rockers Band of Horses, Seattle blues chick Betsy Olson, and singer-songwriter Patrick Park. But in 2006 she struck out on her own with a self-titled debut which immediately scored praise from local and national tastemakers alike.
Six years later (four since her widely acclaimed Sub Pop debut Only as the Day Is Long), Cahoone is readying the release of her third solo effort – an album which sees her ruminating on the gravitational pull of home. Titled for the Colorado canyon where she came of age, where her mother still lives, Deer Creek Canyon delves deeper and sees her voice remarkably stronger than on her previous albums.
Though some of the songs predate her move to Seattle, (she started writing "Naked" when she was 20 and finished it just before they hit "record"), it's hard to miss the running themes of home. "My brother and my sister both left and now they've gone back home," she sings on the title track. "Deer Creek Canyon's where I'm from and it's where you are still."
Rather than expound from there, she leans back and lets the music take over, Jeff Fielder's guitar rooting strongly to the melody's foundation. Even the music isn't sure about wandering far from home.
Sentimental, yes, but straight-forward. Where her previous efforts explored the complicated throes of dark emotions, this album is more richly focused. Home is even present in the more personal songs struggling with various facets of love and friendship ("Worry All Your Life", "Shakin' Hands").
"I get really homesick and think about moving back to Colorado," she admits. "But, I've matured a lot. I took a very long break to write this record. I didn't care how long it took. Once these songs started coming together, I knew I wanted to take my time with this one. I wanted to get it right, focus more on production, and make sure all the sounds and vocals were pushed even higher."
Doug Fir Lounge
Tue, October 21
Wed, October 22
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Sat, October 25
Sat, October 25
Sun, October 26
Sun, October 26
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Tue, October 28