Anita, On the Banks
Lady Moon So Far Away
J'habite un pays
High Twilight is an ambitious work that makes no reservations about diving into big classic themes like love and death, sex and myth. Musically the motifs are each given their own respective treatment, as the record features everything from Americana to French chanson and even a touch of Dixieland. But it’s Daniel’s voice, both literally and figuratively, that strings the album together and manages to make it somehow sound both contemporary and timeless.
Daniel is joined by a number of notable guests on the record, which was recorded in his native Montreal at The Treatment Room. In addition to his core band the album features Warren Spicer (Plants and Animals), Joe Grass, Mike O'Brien (Katie Moore), award-winning cellist Claude Lamothe, and accompanying vocals by Saskatchewan's Charlotte Loseth (aka Sea Oleena).
A local troubadour, Daniel Isaiah and his band coaxed festival goers into an easy state of mind with his Mark Knopfler-style of soaring and soulful guitar riffs and his Chris Isaak-like voice (complete with pompadour). The female drummer for the band had an amazingly dedicated light touch that helped propel this live show above many of the other folk-oriented acts.
But within 30 seconds of his band coming onstage, I was transfixed. Three people with Daniel and his guitar partner providing a twin reverb-drenched twin hollowbody guitar twang attack. Think Dire Straits meets Chris Isaak with a slight David Lynch twist. Extremely evocative, atmospheric and even slightly ominous. The songs were great.
a beautiful set of heart-plucking songs that would build up into intense, moving climaxes. People underestimate how full a three-piece band can sound. The guitar, bass, and drum combination made for a rich, honey-sweet listening experience, and Daniel’s beautifully sad vocals left you mesmerized and floating into space. Come to think of it, it felt like his voice had a bit of a bluesy, Timber Timbre tinge to it in some parts.
High Twilight is a record full of all sorts of twists and turns, keeping delighted listeners well on their toes.
Tantôt sérieux, tantôt tristes et parfois drôles,... ses textes sont solides et bien inspirés ... Ses collaborations sur l’album sont bien choisies et paraissent bien naturelles. Omniprésentes, les guitares sont pures, nettes et riches. On écoute Isaiah pour la première fois et on a l’impression de déjà le connaître un peu. Alors, on s’empresse de l’écouter encore… et encore.
At what point does an artist have so many influences on display that he rises above them to become something completely unique and interesting in his own right? I’m not sure, but I think Montreal’s Daniel Isaiah has passed it ... Familiar but never derivative, 'High Twilight' is a low-key coup.
Make room in your iPods for High Twilight, the stunning debut from Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Isaiah. The Montreal native with the warm, lived-in voice and ability to hop styles like trains has earned comparisons to Bob Dylan, Will Oldham, Bright Eyes, Leonard Cohen and Calexico. We asked the artist and occasional filmmaker about the nuts and bolts of songwriting, and the one song he wishes he’d written....
"Hints of Canadiana, spacey pop, warm organ notes and even Dixieland are introduced with a deft touch, but Isaiah works best when he’s delivering Gold-era Ryan Adams nuggets like “High Twilight” and “Anita, On the Banks” ... without question High Twilight is a record with many rewards."
There's a little bit of Leonard Cohen when he sings in French on “J'habite un pays” ... a little latter-day Bob Dylan on “The Hours”; and a whole lot of artists like Calexico, Fleet Foxes and Josh Ritter, who are rooted in folk but adamant about using the full range of instruments and production techniques available.
Join the Secret City mailing list
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada. Nous reconnaissons l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.