The former Twisters front man has sent along his new, third, solo CD with a cover that reflects its ‘themes of life, love, acceptance, spiritualism and the sixth sense’. You might think that these themes would lead Isaak away from the blues but you would be wrong, he has come up with some very fine originals that are firmly in the tradition. Two former bandmates in David ‘Hurricane’ Hoerl and drummer Chip Hart are on board along with some other stellar Vancouver players. This location is a bit of a departure for Isaak who previously used his brother’s studio in Whitehorse and it’s also a band album whereas the previous ones were much more solo affairs. Acceptance starts off with “Right Around the Corner”, an easy-going, sing-along that points out that redemption is close at hand. Love shines in the R&B-styled “I Wanna Be Your Man” with Jerry Cook on riffing saxes and with a fine electric guitar solo from Isaak. A serious highlight is the gospel original “Beautiful Day”, with its lovely melody and Aidan Miller on a most appropriate Hammond A-100. Much grittier is “PhD in the Blues” granted by a lifetime’s immersion channeling Albert King throughout. “That’s How I Feel” is a delightful love song with Hoerl on harmonica. “Me and the Blues” has a slightly processed intro with Isaak headed to Memphis now that she’s left him. That intro connects this new song to much older songs most effectively. He stays in that blues mold with a stunning, much more modern “Time to Git it On”, a different kind of love song. Shades of Lonnie Johnson grace “Blame It on The Girl”, a most attractive blues ballad. Another easy rocking groove adds immeasurably to the message of inclusivity that is “No Matter What Thy Name”. A country blues highlight is “Perfectly Happy with The Blues” – he almost persuades us that he’s OK now that she’s gone. For all the players here, including members of Powder Blues, this is a remarkably informal album. His web site, www.brandonisaak.ca, doesn’t show him travelling much but you must check out this wonderful new release.

December 2018 - Angelique Francis
Loose Blues News - December 2018