There is a clear understanding and appreciation in the composition of Gregory Alan Isakov’s songs by those he surrounds himself with on stage (the band consists of: Jeb Bows on violin, Philip Parker on cello, Steve Varney on electric guitar and Banjo, and Jen Gilleran on drums). Their ability to powerfully expand upon Isakov’s often fervent vocals, without ever impinging on the songwriter’s tenor, gives the songs an appealing live treatment both subtle and riveting. Similar was the synergy when Isakov introduced guest and friend Nathaniel Rateliff, though just for one song, the meshing of their styles was perfectly natural.

The highlight of the night however, was the haunting rendition of “The Universe”, introduced by Isakov telling of the band’s recent realization how much they love playing with the lights out. The four minute tune had even the rowdiest corners of the New York crowd silently fixated on the sole globe illuminated on the dark stage. Go see Gregory Alan Isakov live and you’re guaranteed a phenomenal balance of beautiful ballads and foot-stomping fun.

 //writeup & photos by Brett Berman