Chris Isaak’s longstanding desire to musically salute his inspirations was fast-tracked when he read a 2000 interview with the great Sun Records producer Sam Phillips that appeared in the...Expand
Chris Isaak’s longstanding desire to musically salute his inspirations was fast-tracked when he read a 2000 interview with the great Sun Records producer Sam Phillips that appeared in the Oxford American. Near the end of the Q&A, Phillips was asked if any contemporary recording artists grabbed his attention. His response blew Chris away. “I don't keep up with the business like I used to,” said Phillips, “but I love to listen to Chris Isaak. He’s very talented, and his music is so damned honest. It’s incredible.” That pretty much sealed the deal for this Sun worshiper.
The accurately titled Beyond the Sun, Chris Isaak’s Vanguard Records debut is a self-described labor of love. Since he fell in love with his parents’ 45s as a child in Stockton, California, this passionate writer/artist has been obsessed with the glory days of Memphis’ Sun Studio and the visionary artists who got their starts there—including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis—all of them discovered and nurtured by Sam Phillips. Now, at long last, Isaak magically recaptures the transformative brilliance of the classic sides cut by these greats at Sun with Phillips during the mid-’50s, while also getting down to the nitty-gritty of his own deeply rooted musical identity.
Both before and during the sessions, Isaak was inspired to pen some original tunes in the spirit of these sacred texts. One of them, the cranked-up rocker “Live It Up,” is being released as the first single. “When we were doing the record, I kept learning things,” says Chris. “For instance, nothing on those early records has a rock beat—it’s all shuffle and stripper beat. I wrote “Live It Up” to put a rock beat on the record, so that that beat too is represented.”
Produced by Isaak, Beyond the Sun was recorded mostly at the historic Sun Studio in Memphis with his longtime band—bass player Rowland Salley and drummer Kenney Dale Johnson, who’ve been with him from the start, guitarist Hershel Yatovitz, pianist Scott Plunkett and percussionist Rafael Padilla. The album also features a guest performance by the Memphis legend, ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement. Beyond The Sun will be released in a standard and deluxe package. The deluxe package includes 14 tracks plus 11 additional recordings. A 2 LP vinyl edition of the deluxe package will be available in November.