The Vanguard and Brother's Houligan present
Gregory Alan Isakov
Sanders Bohlke, Parker Millsap
222 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK, 74103
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is all ages
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."
It's been seven years since Sanders Bohlke's eponymous debut- a folk album hailed as passionate and praised for its honesty. But that doesn't mean that Bohlke has been quiet in the interim. To fill the spaces between, he's released a slew of standalone singles and EPs, including "Search and Destroy," a 7+ minute track that expands in an unyielding cascading rhythm and "The Weight of Us," a string-laden ballad that Popdose referred to as "sound[ing] like a stark personal statement… a hauntingly lovely song."
The wait is over, though, as Sanders releases his new album Ghost Boy on February 19, 2013 via Communicating Vessels, one of the new crop of cutting edge Southern record labels, based out of Birmingham, Alabama with Jeffrey Cain (of Remy Zero) at the helm.
Lead single "Ghost Boy" is arguably Bohlke's most infectious melody and fully realized flirtation with pop music, and could easily hold its own with the biggest indie singles of the last few years. On this new record, Sanders continues his evolution as a songwriter with lush soundscapes that layer brooding and billowy textures against his soulful voice. Once again recorded with Jeffrey Cain, they've perfected a sonic world that deftly highlights both the beauty and the dark romance of Bohlke's songs.
Parker was born.
Here's what Bob Moore (the Spacedog) has to say about the events that have transpired since that event:
Parker Millsap and Michael Rose are essentially a force of nature. To compare them to any person, place, or thing is redundant. They are like nothing in the music market and their audience is probably clapping with one hand with that fat naked Buddha leading the devotees' applause. Comparison is futile. Still, we strive to label that we may pass information on to our peers.
As a duo they are beyond complete, covering the dynamic spectrum with a blanket of supernatural power and lyrical intent. They project more highs and lows than a bus load of manic-depressive divas on the path to temptation. The sound can go from a rant to a rose in a manner that seems so obvious and as new as a revelation, as perpetual as daybreak, as compelling as that new baby smell. Add a hard or the edge of a fiddle in the middle and their music is a foundation for those who accompany to drift into eternal possibilities.
Postmodern implies a paradox and in it's essential nature becomes the only word that describes the act justly. If modern is the cutting edge, how can something be post? What can possibly come after it?
This mystery manifests itself in the listening experience. Millsap spans the chronology from the growls of the shaman to the domain of the poet, from the bleak pinnacle of destitution to the mysticism of perpetual bliss and all in the span of a song, maybe even a phrase. Rose rises and falls with his partner like a wing man in serious combat, ever-present in the space behind the youthful front man, always filling the gaps with a meter that gives Millsap the authority to take the piece to the limit, and take it out he does.
The voice is the primary definition of commitment. There is no almost in his expression. If he says, "Little Jack Horner sat in the corner" the listener knows without reservation that Horner is in the corner infinitely trapped and never to be released except by an additional lyric. Was there ever any doubt? There is no confetti and blowhole smoke in this show; it is so real it makes you scared. The audience sits, washed in the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, praying that the lyric won't get personal, steal their wills and make them sit in the corner ad infinitum.
All metaphysical banter aside, the instrumentals are compelling, the rhythm is emasculate, the vocal is commanding, and the songwriting can impose itself on your subconscious at multiple image levels, just like literature. All of these amazing elements of the show, however, are overwhelmed by the synergy of the performance. The final product is a geometric exponent of the individual parts and that is what makes it high art. That is, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Try this experiment if you don't believe me. Take a man child, teach him to fingerpick and play a rack harp, suggest he write some tunes and find him a doghouse bassman with timing. Add water, shake, rattle and roll, then pour it on the stage at your local live-in-a-dive joint. If you did this a thousand times you would never get what Millsap and Rose deliver every time. The postmodern magic they project is spinning the clouds in a frantic frenzy, or maybe it's a slow wise old glacier crushing mountains in its assault, only to have its heart warmed by the caress of a loving desert. One thing is certain: the final product is greater than the separate elements and the real reward goes to the listener, who is drawn to the heart of the matter to accept the gift they give so freely. I wouldn't miss this one if I were you, and I am.