Fraser / Live Music: Guitarist gets down and dirty for coffee crowd
It is a good feeling for Gregory Alan Isakov if he can play a show with dirt on his hands. The musician said gardening is the thing that usually keeps him sane.
During the winter, he said he does go a little crazy.
“Don’t we all?” he said.
While he waits for the snow to melt and the ground to be ready for planting, writing music gives him time to connect with himself.
The Boulder musician is the next featured performer at Java Mic Night. Fiddle-playing friend Jeb Bows “might hop along as well.”
To the guitar and banjo player, music is ever evolving. There are periods of time when he writes a lot of songs and they tell him how he is doing in life. He said the songs are always different, and that “different is good.”
He has been writing for a major portion of the last decade and most of his song list is original. Covers usually pay tribute to friends he has made along the way (in particular are Ron Scott, Johan Wagner, and Reed Foehl). In fact, Isakov said he writes a lot with friends, as well as with a brother who lives in Portland, Ore.
“It’s a good way to spend time with people, kinda a rare thing too,” he said.
Isakov just returned from a trip across the east and west coasts with band The Freight. They have had the opportunity to play with several great bands this past year, with favorites being Calexico, Kelly Joe Phelps and Brandi Carlile. He and the band have also been finishing up a record here in Colorado, in which Isakov also plays the piano and bells. The album, to be entitled “This Empty Northern Hemisphere,” is set for release in April. Isakov is “super excited” about it. With several risks taken with the arrangements, he said it is quite different than anything he’s done before.
“There are many moments I’ve had solo, and with the band that I’ve thought to myself, ‘Man, it doesn’t get better than this.’,” Isakov said he has had career highlights in big theaters and on the road, but that most of them have been in a small venues (like Fraser Rocky Mountain Roastery) playing to 20 people or so. Like that of a Denver bar he plays at a lot, “The songs come out in a great way and everyone is inside them. Simple, really. Those are the moments.”
Every Friday night through the winter season, the Roastery is hosting diverse talent from throughout the Grand County area and Colorado region. Season tickets are available. Schedule for the event’s fifth year includes Aaron Espe Jan 16, a Grand County Blues Society show or open mic night Jan 23, Andy Irvine and the Brian Jordan Trio Jan. 30, The Really Serious String Band Feb. 6, The Blackthorn Project Feb. 13, Jasco Jazz Feb. 20, Brad Pregeant Feb. 27, Open Mic March 6, open events March 13 and 20, Haas ‘n’ Friends March 27, and Ali ‘n’ Friends April 3.
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