Folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov has come a long way, geographically and creatively, from his native Johannesburg. A traveler by nature, his songs reflect the weariness of the road, along with the particular exquisite beauties that are found only in the itinerant life. His gentle and introspective folk manages to collapse the distance between the broadest reaches of the American landscape and the small, quiet things found within oneself.
Isakov’s lyrics hit upon familiar touchstones — whiskey and smoke, odes to the natural world, the melancholy of dwindling love — without lapsing into cliché. Now hailing from Boulder, Colorado, he recently explored classical arrangements with the Colorado Symphony in a departure from his usual stripped-down style.
His mainstay, however, is still his rough-hewn but sensitive vocals, which deliver the confessional touches that make his songs ring out with gravity and sincerity. Over the past decade, he’s achieved notability with his albums That Sea, The Gambler, and This Empty Northern Hemisphere, the latter of which contains hits like “Big Black Car,” “Dandelion Wine,” and “That Moon Song.” Another favorite is “San Francisco,” an affecting paean to our very own city.
Isakov won’t be playing in San Francisco, however. This tour will take him up from southern California to Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre. Though it’s a bit out of the way for those who live in the city, the Mystic, a renovated early-20th-century vaudeville theatre, is a beautiful venue, and a fitting setting for Isakov’s vintage stylings. It won’t be until August that he returns to California, so be sure to catch him at the Mystic this Friday.
Gregory Alan Isakov
April 28, 2017
8:30pm, SOLD OUT (21+)