Brandon Isaak – Rise ‘N’ Shine
Brandon Isaak presents an all-original album of 13 blues tunes presented as a solo effort. Recorded in Vancouver’s Tin Can Alley, many of his local friends joined in with the making of this CD. The tunes range from raw, primitively recorded roots music to a more modern and upbeat style. Isaak’s last CD garnered recognition with a 2018 Juno Award Nomination for Blues Album of the Year in 2018. He has also won Maple Blues Awards for Acoustic Act of the Year and has been nominated for many categories of this award.
Isaak plays all the forms of guitars and some harp and drums and bass when his guest friends are not supporting the track. Keys are covered by Aidan Miller and Willie MacCalder, drums are by Chip Hart, and there is harp by Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl. Ed Isaak, Jack Lavin, Sam Shoichet, Lisa Rae Simons and Pa Darcus share bass duties and Jerry Cook provides the saxophones. Willie MacCalder and Jack Lavin are from the Powder Blues Band and Chip Hart and David Hoerl are from the Twister. It’s a hot music scene at Tin Can Alley.
The first track is a slick little mid tempo cut entitled “Right Around The Corner” with upright bass and piano added. It’s got a cool, old-time vibe to it; Isaak sings with feeling and picks some acoustic guitar. Isaak gets a little help on upright bass, harp on “Lose The Blues.” His lap steel and drums are cool and he again gives us another old school feel in this work. “I Wanna Be Your Man” adds drums, saxophones, electric bass and keys. Isaak (on electric guitar) and Company get a nice groove going and deliver another cool performance. Isaak’s guitar and vocal swing and jump in “Can’t Do No Wrong.” A little drum help sets the pace as Isaak plays his guitar with passion and adds a bit of harp to the mix, too. “Beautiful Day” has a little drum and keyboard help as Isaak testifies and takes us to church a bit, both vocally and on guitars. Next up is “PhD In The Blues,” where Isaak plays guitar bass, drums and sings and gets help from the sax. This ones got attitude as Isaak tells us how has been educated in the blues. It’s a little funky and drives with a hard beat. “That’s How I Feel” has some help on harp and piano in a bouncy little number where Isaak tells us how he feels about his woman.
“Me And The Blues” is Isaak with drum help; he sings a sweet, slow blues and plays his dobro with emotion. Isaak switches gears with “Time To Git It On,” mixing perhaps a bit of Chicago blues and a swampy feel to create a unique sound. Help on keys and drums make things fun, and Isaak’s electric guitar and harp are well done, too, and he mixes in some other guitars for fun. “Blame It On The Girl” is a somber, slow blues with piano, drums and electric bass helping to set the mood. Brandon sings with feeling once again and picks out some nice acoustic guitar. “No Matter What Thy Name” again features lap steel with added keys. drums and upright bass. Isaak sings of tolerance and makes his point with super vocals and nice work on his guitar. “Perfectly Happy With The Blues” features Isaac picking out some nice stuff with a little upright bass help. The cut is simple and sublime with a sweet melody woven up with great work on the dobro. Last but not least is “Sweet Dana Lee,” a swing tune. Drums, upright bass and the sax along with some well done electric guitar swing and juke with a jazzy, Louis Jordan sort of vibe.
There are some very interesting blues coming out of Canada. Brandon Isaak and his one man band and his guests have produced a very nice set of tunes in this, his third solo album. If you like blues and roots music with an edge then look no further. I enjoyed this one and think fans of similar interest will too!