December 11, 2008

Rustic warmth and seeping wistfulness

The honest, richly-spun folk of up-and-coming local musician Gregory Alan Isakov captivated a packed house in Denver last week as he opened for the Calexico show. I’ve written about the marvelous skiffle of Isakov’s “The Salt and The Sea” tune before, and have been appreciated the bright talent of this local artist in several venues across Colorado this year. I love to hear Gregory sing; his voice is really something special in the singer-songwriter pantheon, with hints of sly knowing, balanced with a warm and soaring verve.

“Gonna write one for you, the unwritable girl . . .”

Unwritable Girl – Gregory Alan Isakov
[from his 2007 album That Sea, The Gambler]

All pictures of Gregory’s set with Calexico are here.

Isakov is playing again this Friday night at Boulder’s B-Side Lounge with Wisconsin folk artist Peter Mulvey. If you haven’t heard Mulvey’s songs before, you should take a listen to this collaborative set that he recorded on WPLN with two other excellent Americana songwriters in the same vein: Jeffrey Foucault and Chris Smither. I’ve listened to this set many times when I need an infusion of something weighty and authentic.

In addition to a cover of “Buckets of Rain” that gets me every single time, this set also includes one of my favorite sad songs of the last few years, “Northbound 35.”

Train Home – Chris Smither

29 Cent Head – Peter Mulvey
Stripping Cane – Jeffrey Foucault

Lola – Chris Smither

Stranded in a Limousine – Peter Mulvey

Northbound 35 – Jeffrey Foucault
**highest rec**
Crocodile Man – Chris Smither
Shirt – Peter Mulvey

Secretariat – Jeffrey Foucault

Outside In – Chris Smither

The Road To Mallow – Peter Mulvey

Buckets of Rain (Dylan) – Jeffrey Foucault


TICKETS: Gregory Alan Isakov with Peter Mulvey
Friday, Dec 12 – B-Side Lounge in Boulder

[audio via]


  • Oh, I am so glad I found your blog. :) This set sounds *awesome* – I can’t wait to listen to it.

    clairehelene7 — December 11, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

  • This is such a great set. I had seen Chris and Peter many times when I heard first heard this. It introduced me to Jeffrey and have been a huge fan since. B.o.R. is awesome! See any or all live if/when you get the chance. These three have soul.

    Anonymous — December 11, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  • There have been a number of really good folk artists from Wisconsin lately (including Mulvey and Foucault). Another artist who fits that same mold is Hayward Williams, who has recorded with Mulvey and played with Foucault. You should check his stuff out as well.

    Anonymous — December 11, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  • Gregory is one of my very, very favorites. :) Glad you like him too. His new album is coming out in late winter or early spring. Can’t wait.

    mandy — December 12, 2008 @ 5:25 pm

  • good stuff keep it comin

    dkaller — December 14, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  • I just posted my best of 2008, We have some overlap. I dig your list. You can see mine over at

    Rural Music Hipster — December 15, 2008 @ 8:37 am

  • Can’t get the zip file to work? Is it possible to repost?

    Rory Roth — July 14, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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