My knowledge of folk is limited, I find it hard to listen to the British working-class stories of toil, trouble and industry, but I admire and respect the roots of the genre. The instruments; acoustic and organic, the lyrics; heartfelt and honest and the genres popularity grows by the week.
What Colorado-based singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov has delivered here is poignant and interesting, it’s recognisable but immediately it feels an evolution from what folk, particularly in this country, is. I find there to be such a fine line between American Folk and Country music that the two often intertwine, which, if you’re a fan of either genre is great news because the songs on Evening Machines will keep you interested and engaged. But alongside the pedal steel, banjo and all manner of percussion sits keyboards, electronic drums and electric guitar.
Songs written against a backdrop of vast space and farming communities (Isakov shares his time as a musician with being a farmer). This is the type of music that evokes images of sitting on the front porch on a summer’s evening with your sweetheart alongside you, overlooking a lake as the sun sets and the stars emerge over the pine trees. Evening Machines is a perfect tonic to the hustle and bustle of modern life and presents an opportunity to stop and listen.
The songs are arranged thoughtfully and with care and slowly they creep into your mind. From the album’s opener ‘Berth’ (a song about immigration) through the wonderful ‘Dark, Dark, Dark’ to the personal closer ‘Wings In All Black’ the album manages to hold on to the listener and calmly guide you through a world of characters and layered music.
As I wrote before, my knowledge of folk is limited, but if this is where folk is heading I’ll buy a ticket and take my seat.
Gregory Alan Isakov is touring the UK from 4thto 9thDecember with shows in London, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow and Manchester.