Favorited ex.fm Songs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Discovering music the old fashioned way

Last week, I went to see Josh Ritter in concert. It was the second time I've gotten a chance to see him live. Since his new album is my favorite record of his since 2006's incredible "The Animal Years," I was really excited to hear the new material. His performance didn't disappoint at all. He performed a whole bunch of songs spanning his 15 year career, most of the time with a huge smile on his face. What made the show even better though was the presence of the previously unknown to me Gregory Alan Isakov as the opening act.

It used to be that I would discover a lot of bands by catching opening acts for other bands I enjoy. In high school, The Starting Line was my favorite band. I remember discovering them by hearing just the second half of the last song from their set as I was entering a show (for New Found Glory I think). The Starting Line hadn't been on the bill, but when I got home I spent a bunch of time listening to their music on Pure Volume (or whatever it was people were using back then). These days, I don't get out to as many shows, and most of the new music I stumble across is from one of the various music blogs I read (see the right hand side of the page for some of those) or Twitter accounts I follow, so I've missed that particular joy of discovery. Therefore, it was really nice to experience coming into a show with no preconceptions of the opener and finding myself pleasantly enjoying Gregory Alan Isakov's set.

From the first song, I could tell I'd enjoy his gentle finger-picking style of guitar playing. Throughout the show, he used multiple microphones to create different vocal effects, sometimes sounding far away, other times just a bit tinny, and other times strong and powerful. It was a nice way to add some variety while performing by himself. And while lyrics aren't always something you notice right away, Isakov is really a wordsmith, peppering his songs with great lines like "If it weren't for second chances, we'd all be alone" and "your heart's a thousand colors, but they're all shades of blue."

Fittingly, with Valentine's Day fast approaching, here's a song called "Saint Valentine" from Gregory Alan Isakov's album he released last year.

And here's a live performance of the hauntingly beautiful, "The Universe," another standout song from his most recent album, "The Weatherman."

Want to check out Gregory Alan Isakov?


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