For his most recent album, 2011’s Beyond the Sun, roots rocker Chris Isaak went old school. “I had so much fun making that record,” Isaak tells EW via email. The album compiled his versions of songs by classic Sun Records artists including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis. “No tricks or overdubbing… like Elvis did with [Sun founder] Sam Phillips. I think if you get too into computer perfection and overdubbing you can lose sight of why you wanted to make a record in the first place.”
To keep that country vibe alive on his new album, First Comes the Night, Isaak enlisted two of the genre’s foremost producers: Lady Antebellum collaborator Paul Worley and Dave Cobb, who has worked with acts including Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell. “They don’t chase money, gold records, or hits,” Isaak says. “They are crazy about good music, and they will work to get it.”
Accordingly, First Comes the Night foregoes the glitz and pop sheen that could guarantee a hit record. Tracks like “Reverie,” which EW is proud to premiere below, showcase Isaak’s melancholy voice and ear for tuneful, lush arrangements.
“The song has a different take on a love affair,” says Isaak, who worked on the track with Michelle Branch and Natalie Hemby. “[It’s] one that isn’t always talked about in songs, but I think most people have felt at some time: ‘What happened? One minute it’s love and magic and then the curtain falls.’”
And although recording in Nashville fueled his latest creative burst, music wasn’t the only regional aspect Isaak enjoyed during the sessions. Sound Emporium, where he recorded much of the album, is “conveniently located next to a good barbecue.”
Check out “Reverie” below and stay tuned for First Comes the Night, out Nov. 13.