top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats With Canadian Blues & Roots Artist Brandon Isaak


By Ken Wallis.



Brandon Isaak is the product of a dad who has been a musician all his life. His influence started Brandon down the road of a music career. He’s a marvellous musician, plays solid acoustic guitar, and gushes out lyrics like the Niagara Falls. But he’s more than all that. He’s a top-notch entertainer that knows how to enthral an audience. He’s garnered two Juno Awards nominations, multiple Maple Blues Awards nominations, and he was just nominated for 4 Maple Blues Awards.


Ken Wallis interviewed Brandon Isaak for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, amended and edited for clarity and brevity.



Ken Wallis

Brandon Isaak has a brand-new album out, it's called One Step Closer and we're thrilled to have Brandon join us on the show, Brandon great seeing you again.


Brandon Isaak

I appreciate you having me Ken, it's great to be here my friend.


Ken Wallis

Just a little bit of background, what got you into music in the first place?


Brandon Isaak

Growing up, I was born in Whitehorse, Yukon, and my dad's a full-time musician, so watching him do his thing, and that influenced me a lot. On professional day you go to work with your dad, so I would go to a stinky old bar and watch a sound check or something like that. My dad was making records and touring and stuff and his best advice for me was, don't do it son, don't become a musician, it's a rough ride. But you got to find what you're good at in life, and I found that I'm good at the arts. It's some sort of art that I would have to do, so I ended up getting into music and I don't regret it at all. I feel like I'm one of the most blessed people on the planet.


Ken Wallis

Your new album is entitled One Step Closer. What's the significance of that title?


Brandon Isaak

It's one of the tracks on the new album. I lost one of my dear aunts about a year and a half ago, losing a close family member is always a ride that we all have to do. It just makes me dive into more spiritual themed songs, and that's a song that I wrote about my aunt Lyla. It just seemed like an appropriate title. I've never titled one of my CD's with a spiritual tune, but this is how we did this one.

Ken Wallis

For folks that haven't heard your album yet, how would you describe the music? To me it's classic vintage throwback music, and it's so enjoyable, but how would you describe it?

Brandon Isaak

Well, that's a good way to describe it, you kind of nailed it pretty good there. I know there's a big rock blues scene going on and I like that stuff too, and I think that's great. I'm not quite there. I probably never will quite get there. I just like the old traditional sounding stuff and I feel like if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I like to rock to the old sounding music, and I just put modern themes in. Not that thinking about a broken heart is a modern theme, they've been doing that since the beginning. Yeah vintage type of stuff, I like that sound.

Ken Wallis

I've got to share some of your lyrics. Housebound Blues, I just love, and you wrote:


Take it easy we'll see this through

Everybody's talking about the dyin’ flu

Don't you worry we'll be fine

Dim the lights and open up the wine


I applaud you for that because so often you hear gloom and doom and you're shining a new bright light on all of that.


Brandon Isaak

That's sort of a theme that is a re-occurring theme for me. I like to find the silver lining. Like the first track, All You Got To Do, that's about looking at the bright side of the street. House Bound Blues, you try to find a positive in there, when all else fails open the wine, just some advice. And then Walkin’ In The Sunshine is another sort of thing where I like to find a positive out of a negative. So it's a re-occurring theme that I do and I find that I'm doing that quite often. trying to encourage people to look at the bright side of stuff and make a conscious decision to be happy as you can be.


Ken Wallis

How do you go about creating your songs? Do the lyrics come first or does the music come first?

Brandon Isaak

It depends, it's all different. Sometimes I'll have a cool little riff for some little chord progression that I'm kicking around, and I think I got to put some lyrics to that. I might look at an old song I wrote a year ago and see if I can put some new clothes on it. Sometimes it's a lyric that I have and then I try to find the appropriate music. It’s different ways of going about it, there's never one way of doing it.


Ken Wallis

To me your vocal style is fantastic, but for some reason it's the lyrics that I always zoom in on. Your lyrics are always enlightening and yet at the same time, they always seem to be fun.

Brandon Isaak

I appreciate that, yeah, I take the lyrics very seriously, an artist should have something to say. Often, I'm singing about love or something like that, but even then, I am trying to make it a little funny if possible. I like positive lyrics, we have enough CNN and all that stuff going on in our lives. It’s nice to have a few laughs and have some heartwarming themes going around when we're listening to music.


Ken Wallis

Brandon, you've performed with a whole bunch of famous artists over the years. Is there any one artist that stands out for you?


Brandon Isaak

I just did another show with my dad in Whitehorse. They had a book release for their band, they've been around since 1957. To me that's one artist that stands out for me, is my dad. He's always played music for a living, always been honest, true hardworking. I just look at how my dad's done it and he's taken this business where a lot of people think musicians are on the road cheating on their wives. My dad's just a solid, true-blue guy and he’s dedicated his life to music. He hasn't had as much fortune as me as far as success goes. If I had to pick one artist that I've really been blessed to play with it would be my dad.


Ken Wallis

That's a great choice quite frankly.

Brandon Isaak

Well let me ask you Ken, how do you like the horns and the tuba and stuff on this new album?

Ken Wallis

I absolutely love it and that was one of the questions I was going to bring up. I just think that's fabulous because the tuba in there, it just blows my mind. It's unique, it's different but it fits, and I don't know how you made it fit, but it fits seamlessly into the songs.


Brandon Isaak

I recently bought a place on Vancouver Island, and there are these old veteran musicians out here that play this style of music with clarinet and all that. So, when I finally got out here, I thought now's my time to get in touch with these gentlemen and my wife/agent thought I was nuts. She says a tuba, and a clarinet, and a washboard guy are coming over, the guys down here are squeezing a rubber chicken and she thought I'd lost my mind. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it either, but it all worked out. These are such wonderful musicians and veterans, that they just came in and they did it. I'm really excited about that new take.


Ken Wallis

Once again, the album is Brandon Isaac, One Step Closer. Where can folks get a hold of the album?

Brandon Isaak

They can go to my website Brandonisaak.ca or they can go to Bandcamp. And there’s Spotify and all those streaming things. Just Google it and you’ll find it.


Ken Wallis

It's been great chatting with you and hopefully one of these times I'll catch you live.


Brandon Isaak

I appreciate you. I know you've been doing this for 11 years now. Thank you so much for what you do for us artists Ken. I mean we cannot do this without you. We need folks like you to help us get the music out there.


Ken Wallis

It's my pleasure let me tell you!





FOLLOW BRANDON ISAAK




Comentários


bottom of page