Byron Isaacs. A relatively unassuming name buried in the musician credits of many recent records. Peruse the liner notes of Levon Helm’s 2007 album Dirt Farmer, or recent releases by Ryan Adams, Joan Baez, Brazilian Girls, Levon’s daughter Amy Helm…as well as NYC folk band Ollabelle and the current incarnation of The Lumineers, and there it appears. Now it’s attached to one of the best albums to come out in 2018, ironically entitled Disappearing Man. Showcasing nine tunes all written or co-written by Isaacs, the album is due out June 12 on Cosmic Trigger Records.
The debut solo recording by Isaacs, Disappearing Man opens with “Losing You,” immediately bringing to mind the John Lennon song of (almost) the same name, “I’m Losing You” from Double Fantasy. In fact, Isaacs’ voice does often approach that of Lennon, especially on “Crazy Love” and the engaging title track, which appears to borrow chords from – at least to my Fall-fan ears – The Fall’s “Hotel Bloedel.” Elsewhere, Isaacs emulates Neil Young (“Shadows on the Wall”) and the late, great Tom Petty (”Man of the Times”). On “Summer,” Byron and band create a lovely landscape of pulsating keyboards and acoustic guitar befitting the idyllism (wait, is that a word?) of the song’s title. But the pièce de résistance is the second-to-last track, the Robyn-Hitchcock-meets-Rolling-Stones rocker “Daddy’s Farm.” Now there’s a hit!
Disappearing Man was co-produced by Hector Castillo (who’s worked with David Bowie, Philip Glass, Suzanne Vega, and Bjork among others) and Brian Cullman (who’s produced sessions for Lucinda Williams and put out a couple of albums under his own name). Keyboardist Glenn Patscha, guitarist Chris Masterson, and drummer David Berger – as well as percussionist Joe Bonadio, woodwind player John Ellis, and string arranger John Lissauer – join Byron on his inaugural solo voyage.
Bassist-singer-songwriter by trade, Byron Isaacs was born in Texas and now makes Brooklyn his home. The record release party is at The Loft space at City Winery in NYC on June 12, so come check out the…appearance…of the Disappearing Man, Byron Isaacs!
Images courtesy zimbio.com, elmoremagazine.com, byronisaacs.com