Gregory Alan Isakov
With the Colorado Symphony
The opening track “Liars” makes a lush, grand statement during the first five minutes of Gregory Alan Isakov’s new full-length with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. But the remaining 10 songs on the collection time and time again showcase the opulent, ambrosial and sumptuous live sound of Isakov and demonstrate how evocative folk music can be, particularly with such grand accompaniment.
The eleven-track record features songs from Isakov’s previous albums The Weatherman, This Empty Northern Hemisphere and That Sea, The Gambler, in addition to the new aforementioned track “Liars.” He repackages tracks like “Amsterdam,” “Saint Valentine,” “The Stable Song” and “Unwritable Girl” but the addition of the orchestra keeps the album from feeling like a re-hashing of greatest hits. Instead it allows the tracks a stark contrast to their oftentimes very sparse, but no less beautiful original versions.
Isakov and his band — Jeb Bows (fiddle), Philip Parker (cello), Steve Varney (electric guitar/banjo), John Grigsby (upright bass), and Max Barcelow (drums) — split the recording between Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver and his Starling Farm in Boulder and co-produced the album with his longtime collaborator Jamie Mefford. DeVotchKa’s Tom Hagerman, Jump Little Children’s Jay Clifford and the Colorado Symphony’s Scott O’Neil were in charge of arrangements.