Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman


Great writing often comes from a life of experience and Gregory Alan Isakov certainly fulfils this criteria. Born in South Africa and raised in Colorado he has followed in the footsteps of other lyrical greats, spending his time on the road, seeing people and places, travelling and channelling all of this into his music.

His latest album The Weatherman pays homage to the miracle of everyday life. As Isakov explains a weatherman is a perfect example of a daily miracle that we all take for granted - the weatherman tells us the future and yet we fail to be amazed. Isakov uses this concept as the premise for the album - songs which reflect the beauty in the ordinary.

The album has a confidence to it, which is at odds with Isakov’s age. The depth and quality of the song writing feels like it has come from someone much older. Evidently by drawing on his own experiences and keeping to this theme of subtly he has been able to produce an album with a very rounded feel, as though released by a veteran artist. It’s unsurprising therefore that Isakov highlights Leonard Cohen in his influences.

The tracks themselves flow into one-another making the album very comfortable to listen to. Stand alone pieces for me were ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘O City lights’ which are instantly captivating and had me replaying them back-to-back a number of times. The tracks are simple but powerful and they provide substance to why he was inspired by the symbolism of the weatherman.

I can never help but be slightly sceptical when an artist describes recording an album in a quiet mountain town or a log cabin in the woods. It feels similar to the way someone from East London with no glass in the frames or socks in their loafers would try to make their ‘folk’ record have a ‘genuine’ feel. But in Isakov’s case the method has worked. I feel like the album has been sitting in my parents CD collection for the past 20 years periodically resurfacing on long car journeys and rainy Sunday mornings. It’s the musical equivalent of digging up homegrown vegetables, pulling something raw and earth-covered out of the ground, which despite their imperfections are pure and natural. Maybe it’s not incidental that Isakov has a degree in horticulture!

By James Walmsley

'Suitcase Full Of Sparks' from The Weatherman.