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This Empty Northern Hemisphere

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iTunes Review

With influences as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Mark Kozelek and Leadbelly, Colorado’s Gregory Alan Isakov has been making a name for himself the last few years in both singer/songwriter and indie-folk circles. Hooking up with Brandi Carlile for a 2009 tour and gracing his fourth album with her presence, Isakov seems to be making a move to push his career to the next level. The songs here deserve a wider audience (not that his earlier work didn’t!), as they radiate more emphatically, and linger a little longer when the last track ends. With strings that bow and billow, gently brushed drums and guitars, and a wonderfully just-raw-enough voice, tracks like the lilting “Light Year” and the quietly anthemic “Evelyn” are easily branded as some of his best work. Carlile’s strong, sinuous voice on tunes like “That Moon Song” and “If I Go, I’m Goin” adds inestimable depth to the collection, and the restraint used on tunes as delicate and tranquil as Leonard Cohen’s “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong” and “Dandelion Wine” is to be admired. An excellent next step in Isakov’s musical development.

Customer Reviews

If the hemisphere's empty, then it's okay with me

Isakov crafts songs like few musicians can. With this album, Isakov shows once again his distinct ability to delicately observe the human experience without sounding pretentious or overbearing. Hemisphere has a lighter, sometimes brighter and gentler overall tone to it than That Sea, The Gambler, and yet Isakov is as authentic as ever, offering the listener glimpses of half-smiles and maybe even a wink along the way from track #1 to #13. And, I'd like to know what he's gonna do with all that gold he struck from deciding to record with Brandi Carlile - what an addition! Each musician in the band threads his or her instrument and voice (banjo, fiddle, cello, drums, guitar, steel pedal, etc.) seamlessly into each song, creating an idyllic community of sound. Isakov's lyrics are at the same time tangibly near and poetically distant. Isakov fans should be extremely satisfied with this set of songs, and those who are just discovering Isakov's music are better for the find (and are fortunate to have 4 cd's to explore). Thanks, Gregory, for another rich set of music. You do it right, and you do it well!

Musical perfection

I saw Gregory at mile high music feat, and he's really one of those artists that you stumble upon and feel like it was meant to happen. He was playing in the small tent at the festival and I was lucky to be walking by to catch a bit of the music to lure me into his show. The album is fanominal, and you are lucky to have found your way to it amidst the iTunes world.

For the Road.

The best album i have bought in a long time...Amazing lyrics that weave their way in and out of beautifully simplistic melodies. Good for cruising in the car, turn up the stereo and keep on drivin...


Born: 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he began touring with a band at the age of 16 before eventually relocating to Colorado to hone his chops as a solo artist. Influenced by the rural blue-collar lyricism of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Leonard Cohen, it wasn't long before Isakov's own blend of dusty folk and moody Americana began turning heads. He released his debut album, Rust Colored...
Full Bio
This Empty Northern Hemisphere, Gregory Alan Isakov
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Customer Ratings