Gregory Alan Isakov on World Cafe
Gregory Alan Isakov
Studio Session
  • "The Fall"
  • "Miles to Go"
  • "Before the Sun"

“They’re just like ‘Eff you, we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna be this kind of song,’ ” he says. “It feels like a living thing when you’re making a record.”

That friction sparked his latest album, Appaloosa Bones. Isakov wanted to follow up his 2018 record, Evening Machines, with a sparser sound. Inspired by his travels in West Texas, he began writing and recording in the studio in his barn near Boulder, Colo.

But as he tried to strip down his songs to their bare elements, the music evolved in ways he hadn’t anticipated.

“I thought I was gonna make something very lo-fi, very simple. Almost like a lo-fi rock and roll record. I wanted old silver tones that are double amped and kind of dirty,” Isakov says. “Then, the songs sort of presented themselves to me. It’s sort of a co-creative process for me. I just follow along.”

In this session, Isakov talks about what that record became; his approach to songwriting; and leaving just enough space for your interpretation of what those songs mean. Plus, he performs live for World Cafe.

Episode Playlist
World Cafe: 09/13/2023