You're used to hearing great new music on OpenAir and this week is no exception. Stay tuned to OpenAir, new music from Colorado Public Radio, to hear the latest from Gregory Alan Isakov, SoKo, and Bob Marley.
By: Daniel Mescher
Gregory Alan Isakov- The Weatherman
Gregory Alan Isakov’s star has been rising: a track from his 2009 album This Empty Northern Hemisphere was featured in a Canadian McDonald’s commercial (he ended up donating all proceeds to various non-profits for sustainable farming). The South African-born and Colorado-based multi-instrumentalist’s fifth album The Weatherman collects thirteen gorgeously plaintive acoustic songs into a superb album for a Sunday morning drive or a lazy summer afternoon. Recorded partially at Isakov’s Nederland studio, The Weatherman features accompaniment from local favorites like Nathaniel Rateliff and Natalie Tate for Isakov’s guitar, banjo, keys, ukulele, and drum work. Isakov’s pastoral proclivities are in full force here, with each track featuring masterfully crafted and recorded acoustic arrangements that recall Andrew Bird at his folk-iest. “The Universe”, a slow country ballad that likens the title subject to a lost, lonely young girl, is perhaps the most touching song on an album with no shortage of emotion. Gregory Alan Isakov’s latest is a mature, accomplished work that is sure to be a highlight of 2013.
Standout track: “Amsterdam”
SoKo - I Thought I Was an Alien
Shortly after achieving a hit single in Denmark, French actress and singer Stéphanie Sokolinski, better known by the stage name SoKo, decided to quit music and focus on her acting. Continuing her streak of artistic success, she received several accolades for her cinematic work including a César Award nomination and write-ups in the New York Times, Vogue, and Variety. SoKo returns to the musical fold with her debut album I Thought I Was an Alien, released last year in Europe but only recently stateside. Alien is an intimate collection of string-infused lo-fi pop bred in melancholy and heartache but buoyed by hope. Sokolinski’s wispy, almost juvenile vocals on tracks like “I’ve Been Alone Too Long” and the title track defiantly expose the chanteuse’s technical and metaphorical limitations for the sake of the album’s raw ether. Opener “I Just Want to Make It New with You” is a bashful ode to the singer’s romance with Ariel Pink. The track is also featured in a music video which also contains the SoKo-Pink duet “Monster Love”.
Standout track: “First Love Never Die”
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Legend Remixed
There’s nary a young (or old for that matter) music fan who doesn’t know the songs on Legend by heart. Few records are as universally beloved as the greatest-hit compilation from Bob Marley and the Wailers: classic rock and college radio stations, fraternity parties and the grocery store, your dad’s record collection and your partner’s iPod, all are prime locales to come across a Legend track. Legend Remixed was conceived by Ziggy Marley, Bob’s oldest son and an accomplished musician in his own right, as an artistic adventure to take the greatest selling reggae album of all time to new places while respecting the original music, a new spin on a timeless classic. Contributors include Ziggy himself whose “Redemption Song” adds lively instrumentation to the originally bare-bones acoustic anthem, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James who provides a take on “Waiting in Vain”, and electronica artists Pretty Lights and Thievery Corporation.
Standout track: “Redemption Song” (Ziggy Marley remix)