Sunday, March 30, 2014
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: BRANDON ISAAK - HERE ON EARTH
One of the bright young lights in the Canuck blues world, Isaak's out of Whitehorse, and developed a strong reputation with his debut, garnering lots of attention and nominations. This, his second, sees him continue in the acoustic storytelling style, with spare, sharp backing and lots of intimate, blues-in-your-face vocals.
Isaak has a classic voice, mellow, gruff when he needs it, warm and personal in the quieter moments. On other words, he's singing right to you. All 13 of these cuts are originals, and move from country grooves (City Lights) to deep Delta solo (Dead Ass Fool). He knows to keep the histrionics and show-off moves out of the picture, never-overdoing anything, always let the words paint the picture and the playing set the mood, rather than crashing the party. Piedmont blues-styled Dianna Was Her Name is easy and breezy Sunday afternoon music, with its bounce accentuated by simple concertina, while Up The Frisco Line adds a gypsy-jazz fiddle to great effect. He even sticks in some gospel flavour on Dressed For Heaven, the kind of song Lyle Lovett does so well. Isaak sounds great in every acoustic style he chooses, and has proved he can write the good ones too.