Last weekend I was very pleased with myself that I managed to be on time to a concert (for once) and catch the very first opening band because it was Gregory Alan Isakov — and he turned out to be the best of the three acts that night.
Originally from South Africa, raised in Philadelphia (and he did a hometown taping there Tuesday night for the World Cafe on NPR), and now living in Colorado, Gregory nonetheless transcends geographical boundaries with this tune that he calls “a love song to the Pacific Ocean.” It’s unassuming and wonderful — a shuffling jazzy beat, bold bass line, effervescent strumming . . . I close my eyes and I can literally almost see the ocean lapping at my toes when I hear this. Being the Pacific, the water’s cold, as usual.
Salt And The Sea – Gregory Alan Isakov & The Freight
This is from his 2007 EP, self-titled. Another version of it was also on his 2005 EP Songs For October. Gregory has several record release concerts coming up in June for his new album, including ones in Denver, SF, Portland, and the lovely North Bay town of Sausalito in California. He’s one of those singer-songwriter types, yeah, but his lyrics are noteworthy in their warmth and richly sweeping scope, with tones of dusky-twilight Americana like Jeffrey Foucault or Josh Ritter (although on this tune he kinda pulls a fantastic Sinatra).