It’s a sunny afternoon here in my small town, and I’m sitting at my kitchen table, listening to Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Appaloosa Bones.”

There was a big thunderstorm yesterday, some hail, and a tornado warning, but you wouldn’t know it today – all sunshine and blue skies, with a few cottony clouds.

The strains of “Appaloosa Bones” feel like they fit right in.

There’s a gentle, smooth-tone synthesizer underneath a slow-hand acoustic guitar. Isakov’s voice enters, relaxed:

Was it the voice I’ve known
Or your Appaloosa Bones
That carried me home
‘Cross the planes

Gregory was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now is a horticulturalist/singer-songwriter who lives in Colorado, and runs a farm that produces food for Community Supported Agriculture members, restaurants, and Community Food Share (a local food bank).

So now I want to hang out with the guy. Sheesh. A favourite uncle was a horticulturalist. But I’m guessing that, relaxed style and music aside, Isakov is probably kind of busy.

“Appaloosa Bones” sounds very Colorado, very folk, not so much Johannesburg (or Jo-Burg, as they call it). I visited Johannesburg once, in 1977, as a kid, back in a very different political climate. It was – and is – a big, busy, complex city. South Africa is a beautiful country, and has so many beautiful people. Its music is typically extremely rhythmic. Isakov feels that rhythm, but it informs, rather than dominates, his music. It’s underneath, in his mind and soul, but it does not intrude.

Isakov’s music is not at all busy; it’s like a farm in rural Colorado. There’s a lot to do, and there are a lot of people who can be nourished by the music, but it doesn’t impose itself on your mind. Instead, Isakov’s music soothes your spirt.

It’s like you say all the time
World has lost its mind
Between you and I, I know
That I’ve lost mine

Was I that gone
Man, I hope not
Glad you found me
When you did

Glad your music found me when it did, Gregory Alan Isakov. I was drinking homemade rhubarb wine and eating Oreos at my kitchen table, and – even in this small town – feeling a little stressed. I finished the glass of rhubarb wine and a few Oreos, but now I feel better about it, with the help of your musical homebrew. Hope that’s okay.