Local Wire

Chris Isaak

Most of the time, the songs that come to represent an artist in the public's memory don't do justice to the full scope of the artist's musical accomplishments across an entire career. How many times do we find ourselves telling other people things like, "Yes, such-and-such band is really cool, but you need to listen to other songs besides the hits." In the case of golden-throated singer/songwriter Chris Isaak, however, one could hardly have picked a more representative number than his staple hit, "Wicked Game." You know, that song from David Lynch's Wild at Heart, the one with perhaps the most haunting, beautifully evocative steel guitar work ever set down on tape? Which is not to say that "Game" stands especially far above the rest of Isaak's work. In case you haven't kept up with him in the 18 years since that song came out and carried its host album, Heart Shaped World, to smashing success, Isaak has continued to tap that serenely powerful voice of his for maximum thrills on material that's so rich in Roy Orbison-style retro atmosphere that it can cause you to see trails. Isaak's recording schedule has often been sporadic because of his success with acting, so we haven't seen a proper album from him since 2002's Always Got Tonight, where he started to expand on his tried-and-true approach. New album or not, though, how can you resist the chance to be in the same hall as that voice?
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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni