"Writing and performing is a mystery to me," explains singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Alan Isakov. "I try to get myself out of the way as much as I can." This Empty Northern Hemisphere is Isakov's latest collection of songs in which he conjures the miracles and heartaches of day to day living then transforms them into melodies, with a serious commitment to songcraft and musicianship. "The record for me is about traveling a lot, leaving things behind and feeling like the whole world's been pulled out from beneath you," he says.
Isakov composed the songs for This Empty Northern Hemisphere following his relocation from the Colorado wilds to the town of Boulder. The period also marked the beginning of a new creative cycle for the 28-year-old singer songwriter, who combines his personal past with poetry to create a musically vis- ceral present. "I've always liked song-based old-time music along with '70s-string-section-jazz-type things. I think it all creeps into my songs. But then I was Pearl Jam's biggest fan too," he laughs.
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
Three years after stepping away from a full-time music career to attend graduate school, Vienna returns to the studio with a new sound, a new producer, and a new approach to songwriting and recording. What's emerging from that process is her most uptempo, pop-influenced album yet—and full of surprises, even to its creators.
"I have all these songs in various stages of completion," Vienna explains. "Some are just fragments of melody set to a beat I recorded on my phone. Some are a verse and chorus with no lyrics. I've never been a prolific writer, and then I got really involved in school, so my songwriting pace just went glacial," she says with a laugh. "It's sort of terrifying to have so little figured out as we start recording, but it also opens up a lot of possibilities."
At the same time, she's been thinking more like a producer from the outset, often sketching out percussion and vocal arrangements in demo recordings. "This album began with restlessness," Vienna says. "I wanted the songs to have movement; I wanted to be on my feet. So I started writing more on guitar while walking around the house. I'd make rhythmic patterns on the looper and dance around to them. That's probably part of why these songs are taking so long to find their shape. Nothing about this is familiar."
Doors 8 pm | Show 9 pm
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