Gregory Alan Isakov

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Gregory Alan Isakov
Gregory Alan Isakov performing in San Francisco, 14 February 2019
Gregory Alan Isakov performing in San Francisco, 14 February 2019
Background information
Born (1979-10-19) 19 October 1979 (age 41)
Johannesburg, South Africa[1]

Gregory Alan Isakov (born 19 October 1979) is a South African-American singer-songwriter currently based in Boulder, Colorado.[3] He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1986 and he was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[4]

Isakov's music combines indie and folk, featuring instruments such as the guitar and banjo. He is widely known for the songs "The Stable Song", "Big Black Car", "If I Go, I'm Goin" and "San Luis". Isakov has released seven albums, most recently Evening Machines in October 2018.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Isakov was born in Johannesburg on 19 October 1979. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1986 during the apartheid era because his father Nissen started an electronic-engineering business in Philadelphia.[6][7] In Philadelphia, he began touring with a band at the age of 16.[3] Isakov later moved to Colorado to study horticulture at Naropa University.[8] Isakov had played instruments his whole life, but began a life as a professional musician playing occasional gigs while also working as a gardener.[7] His musical career became more serious when he began touring with Kelly Joe Phelps.[8]

In 2003, Isakov self-released his first album Rust Colored Stones.[9] In 2005, he self-released Songs for October. In 2007 he self-released That Sea, The Gambler. In 2009, Isakov self-released This Empty Northern Hemisphere which featured vocals by Brandi Carlile on five tracks and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong".[10] In 2013, Isakov created his independent label Suitcase Town Music on which he released The Weatherman.[11][12]

In 2016, Isakov released Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, an album of eleven of his earlier songs orchestrated by several composers and recorded with the full Colorado Symphony.[6][13] On 5 October 2018 Isakov released Evening Machines on his Suitcase Town Music label.[5]

He has been influenced by the music of Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps and Bruce Springsteen.[1] Isakov has played at many music festivals around the United States, Canada and Europe.[14]

On 20 November 2019, Isakov's album Evening Machines was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album in the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.[15]

The song "Big Black Car" from the 2009 album This Empty Northern Hemisphere was featured in a 2012 McDonald's commercial. Isakov donated the proceeds to non-profit organizations that help further sustainable farming and nurture community.[14]


  • Rust Colored Stones (2003)
  • Songs for October (2005)
  • That Sea, The Gambler (2007)
  • This Empty Northern Hemisphere (2009)
  • The Weatherman (2013)
  • Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony (2016)
  • Evening Machines (2018)


  • In 2015, Isakov's "This Empty Northern Hemisphere" appeared in Season 4, Episode 16 "Not Just a Pretty Face" of Suits.
  • In 2016, Isakov's "Suitcase Full of Sparks" appeared in Season 3, Episode 20 "The Artax Network" of The Blacklist (TV series).
  • In 2017, Isakov's "Time Will Tell" was featured in a commercial for the car manufacturer Subaru.
  • In 2017, Isakov's "Second Chances" appeared in the film Hedgehog (film).
  • In 2018, Isakov's "If I Go, I'm Goin'" appeared in the series finale to The Haunting of Hill House.
  • In 2019, Isakov's "The Stable Song" appeared in the film Peanut Butter Falcon.
  • In 2019, Isakov's "San Luis" appeared in Season 4, Episode 3 "Unhinged" of This Is Us.
  • In 2019, Isakov's "Amsterdam" appeared in Season 1, Episode 11 "A Seat at the Table" of New Amsterdam (2018 TV series).
  • In 2019, Isakov's "If I Go, I’m Goin'" appeared in Season 1, Episode 9 "Everybody Has a Secret" Virgin River.
  • In 2020, Isakov's "San Luis" appeared in Season 1, Episode 9 of The Stand.
  • In 2021, Isakov's "Master and a Hound" appeared in the credits for the first episode of Heels.


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  2. ^ Ismail, Noora. "Gregory Alan Isakov: The Indie Folk Singer Building His Own Off-Grid Paradise". Huck. TCOLondon Publishing. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Monger, James. "Artist Biography". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  4. ^ Van Leuven, Chris. "Deep Music From Up In The Hills". Elevation Outdoors Magazine. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Gregory Alan Isakov: Evening Machines". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Lacroix, Kate (1 January 2017). "Gregory Alan Isakov's Dad Beams as His Son Plays With the Colorado Symphony". Westword. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Gregory Alan Isakov". P O T F. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b "A Singer-Songwriter Who Puts His Garden First". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Rust Colored Stones – Gregory Alan Isakov | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere (Suitcase Town) | Northern Sky Magazine". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  11. ^ BWW News Desk. "Gregory Alan Isakov Comes To Boulder's Fox Theater". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Gregory Alan Isakov album review, 'The Weatherman'". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony Album Released Today, Receives National Critical Acclaim". Colorado Symphony. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Gregory Alan Isakov interview: 'It's a scary time to be alive'". The Independent. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  15. ^

External links[edit]