As a big fan of pieces where artists team up with an orchestra for a special release (my Skálmöld & Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands CD has near-enough worn out from the amount of times I’ve listened to it), my interest was naturally piqued by this, an album that features singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov playing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. However, as impressive as the piece is, as a whole it just feels like something is missing from the album.
Perhaps it’s down to the fact I’m not familiar with Isakov’s previous releases, so I can’t quite tell how his songs translate into an orchestral form, but the vocals sound flat and somewhat emotionless, and don’t quite blend with the lush and colourful orchestration nor the gentle acoustic guitar lines that help to keep the album moving.
Additionally, there’s not much variation from song to song, and it’s a shame because it feels like wasted potential – there’s many similar approaches taken and it would have perhaps been nice to transfer some of the acoustic guitar lines to the orchestra as more often than not, they feel like a “backing band” and don’t have many chances to take a lead role and truly show off their skills.
It’s not a bad album, but it is a little bit of a frustrating listen as it has the potential to be so much better than it is.