Gregory Alan Isakov plays at Ivywild School

By Jen Mulson Updated: January 2, 2014 at 9:00 am • Published: January 2, 2014 | 8:50 am 0

Gregory Alan Isakov

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Ivywild School, 1604 S. Cascade Ave.

Tickets: Sold out, ivywildschool.com

Music was merely a side gig for Gregory Alan Isakov. It was horticulture that first made his heart skip a beat.

The indie folk singer and songwriter arrived in Boulder to green up his thumb at Naropa University and then managed a farm in Lyons for five years. He planted vegetables and wrote songs.

"And then music just started getting really busy," he says, "and I didn't see it coming. It was like eating dinner. It was part of your day that makes you feel alive. It was sort of taking me places I never thought I'd get to go. I said yes to everything that came along, and before I knew it, I had no time for my clients."

Though he still has a few clients in the area ("I love some of these people, and I've been working with gardens for five years and am curious to see how they do"), the yesses have swept him along into a life as a full-time musician. "The Weatherman," released in July, is his third full-length album. It debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's folk chart.

His quiet music leans toward the melancholy, but he calls "The Weatherman" his happiest album yet.

"I'm one of those people, sad songs make me really happy," he says. "I'm not a depressed person or wallowing all the time, but I smile at them, I don't know why."

In retrospect, he sees his albums as obsessions with certain things, like the moon or the ocean. He even keeps a list of words he no longer allows himself to use in his songs, like "moon," though he admits he's not steadfast about it. The new album is mostly "like small noticing songs," he says.

"I didn't like writing songs for a while," he says, "and I think there's the expectation that you're supposed to get better, like in any craft. I feel like with art and music for me, it's not really been evolutionary like that, and I feel like I'm always digging somewhere different.

"I think it's more following curiosities. There's all this suffering in the world and there's also all this crazy beauty, and it's worth a look."

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Jennifer Mulson, jen.mulson@gazette.com, 636-0270.

Other events

Stick Horses in Pants - Comedy improv group, 8-10 p.m. Saturday, Iron Springs Chateau, 444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, $14.50-$15.50 show, $16.50-$29.50 dinner and show, reservations required; 685-5104, thestickhorses.com.

New Year's Eve Traditions Hike - 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday, Bear Creek Nature Center, 245 Bear Creek Road, $3-$4, reservations required; 520-6387, elpasoco.com.

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