Two special evenings of timeless songwriting from well-traveled troubadour
Gregory Alan Isakov
The Seven Hats
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."
The Seven Hats
The Seven Hats, short for The 7 Hats of Borg-Warner—a 1960's advertising campaign of the industrial giant, Borg-Warner, promising better living and "better products through creative research and engineering"—laments the failed promises and disastrous results of the mid-century American industrial complex through its apocalyptic lounge music. The haunting analog-electro project of Julie Davis (Bela Karoli, Nathaniel Rateliff, Fairchildren, Miss America) and Joseph Pope III (Born in the Flood, Nathaniel Rateliff, Miss America) was largely inspired by Davis' decades-long love for the Great American Songbook and the pair's recent acquisition of a 1960's Wurlitzer electronic piano, half-working Roland Juno 106 synthesizer and nearly-broken Farfisa VIP 370 organ.
Recorded at Grey Gardens and mixed and mastered by Randall Frazier at Helmet Room Recordings, the songs on The Seven Hats' 2013 EP, "Scientific American," offer lush and evolving textures that provide the perfect platform for Davis' smoky voice. With a stage set-up designed to fit snugly in the back of a station wagon, The Seven Hats aspires to cross-country trips connected by shows in second-rate motel lounges.
Paul Cox of Stacks music blog describes "Scientific American," as "beautiful and aching and brilliant." He says, " these interpretations of WWII-era compositions are thoroughly marvelous . . . . I hope there's an entire album's worth of this project in the pipeline, because it's just what I've been looking for."