By Kieran Webber
There is pretty much one word to sum up Gregory Alan Isakov‘s collaboration with the Colorado Symphony and that is beautiful. It truly is one of the most heartwarming and special bodies of music, the blend of subtle folk strokes backed by symphonic power creates an incredible atmosphere.
The album is a collaboration that sees songs from Isakov’s past three albums that are delicately reconstructed for the addition of the orchestra. The only new song on the album is the opening track ‘Liars’, a track rumoured to be a live favourite, and it is easy to see why. It is an emotive track that starts off with simplistic folk sensibilities that slowly descends into orchestral chaos.
However, tracks such as ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Master and Hound’ and ‘If I Go, I’m Goin’ take a more subtle route, the focus being on Isakov’s wearied vocals and gentle strokes of his guitar, while the orchestra is slowly introduced, ever so gently floating in the background.
The clashing of the two styles is a risky one, plenty of artists in the past have made a complete mockery of their own music and of the symphony’s style. Who can forget Elton John’s live outing with the Melbourne Symphony or Aerosmith’s repulsive ‘Dream On’. Isakov’s partnership with the Colorado Symphony is not however, a member of this unfortunate or perhaps ill-advised cohort, it is a bloody masterpiece.