“I did this because I love this music—that’s the entire reason,” Isaak explains, advising, “you gotta listen to the original ones—they’re classics – they’re awesome but you can have fun with them. These guys discovered this music for us and we had to rediscover it. There’s no way to do it exactly like they did it, so you’ve gotta give a little bit of your own take on it.”
Considering how unmistakably Isaak’s own music has been inspired by that of the Sun greats, particularly Presley and Orbison, the obvious question is, what took him so long? “When I started making music, I thought that if I do those songs, where do I go from there?” he says. “I wanted to make sure I found my own sound and established who I was. But I always loved that music and I wrote songs in that spirit. You can go through all my songs and you won’t find one reference to goin’ to the bop. They’re about my life, not about nostalgia for the ’50s. I came to a point where I felt like the time was right to do this record. I’d met all my heroes and worked with most of them, and I didn’t hear anybody else doing it the way I wanted to do it.”
Isaak is joined on the record by his longtime band—bass player Rowland Salley and drummer Kenney Dale Johnson, who’ve been with him from the start, guitarist Hershel Yatovitz, pianist Scott Plunkett, and percussionist Rafael Padilla—and it turns out every one of these skilled musicians shares Chris’ passion for the Sun sound, along with a rarified feel for playing it.
“There’s just something about my band that was really right for it, because they all love that kind of music”Isaak points out. “I’ll tell you somethin’: everybody thinks early country is easy to play. It’s not easy. It’s just as hard to play as, like, abstract jazz fusion or anything else. It’s got a feel, and if you get the feel wrong, everything’s wrong. And I don’t think you could find a better rhythm section than mine for playing this music anywhere. Kenney is the shuffle king. And on top of that, Scotty, my piano player, just nailed this stuff. I really don’t think there’s anybody who could play it any better.”
Uptown Theatre is excited to welcome this veteran Uptown performer again on August 8th for what will surely be another exciting event from Chris Issak.
Opening for Chris Isaak is Roem Baur – www.roembaur.com
Roem Baur is a San Francisco based singer-songwriter with a “stirring vocal range and a passion for his music” (Nina Ragonese, WMATT) that proves to be worthy of the unusual distinction of his epithet (which came to his young, single mother in a dream shortly before he was born). A classically trained tenor with a four octave range and award-winning singer (MAMA and Elly Awards), Baur has begun to distinguish himself in the San Francisco scene with his unconventional takes on blues, soul and folk music coupled with the wit and energy he brings to his live performances. S