The Song of The Weatherman

John Steinbeck would have been the best damn songwriter. It’s Halloween night and it’s only just warm enough to sit outside at Copenhagen’s Nameless Bar. I’m trying to get American songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov to talk about his creative process; how it is that certain ideas grow into songs and then how those songs come together as a record. But asking songwriters to describe their craft is almost always elusive, and, in the case of Isakov, the process seems to be a kind of continually evolving mystery – even to the artist himself. Isakov is sincere, and he seems to truly wonder at the whole process of songwriting. And this is probably why our conversation keeps drifting away from songwriting and toward more tangible subject matter: traveling, friends back home, the sheep and honeybees on Greg’s farm, and his new-found love for John Steinbeck. I met up with Isakov in the midst of his nineteen-date European tour, where he’s playing smaller venues than he’s used to back in the U.S. But these intimate shows are selling out. I ask Isakov – who lives on a working farm in rural Colorado when he’s not touring – if he’s ever surprised to see audiences in places as far away as Sweden or The Netherlands singing along to his songs. ‘Oh yeah, it surprises me every single night. Whenever you make a record, you create this thing and then you send it out into the world, but you have no idea how people will receive it. You just hope it will connect.’