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."

Rachel Ries

Rachel Ries, of South Dakota via Brooklyn, crafts sly and compassionate songs for the crooked hearted. With a clear voice and steady hand, she pulls the listener into her world of city grit, country dirt, and her open-eyed search for redemption and reason.

Since her last official 2008 release, Ries ("reese") has recorded and toured extensively with Anaïs Mitchell and, with Mitchell, toured with Bon Iver. Rachel was granted a Chicago Arts award, worked in the Chicago theater scene, toured Europe and the States, learned how to repair Wurlitzers and (kind of) play the drums.

Ghost of a Gardener , Rachel's 3rd full-length, will be released in February 2014. It was recorded in Chicago over the past winter at Pieholden Suite Sounds, studio of the late Jay Bennett (Wilco) and features David Vandervelde (Secretly Canadian), Emmett Kelly (Cairo Gang, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), members of Cuddle Magic and Gregory Alan Isakov. It also features glockenspiel, droning synths, rumbling bass pedals, a string section and church chimes. To name just a few.


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Gregory Alan Isakov with Rachel Ries

Tuesday, November 12 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM at ArtsRiot

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