Isaac Gracie is perhaps the most understated individual working in the music business right now. Having never listened to his music prior to the evening of his recent show in York, I found it hard to believe someone with such talent had completely escaped my radar. On a lovely Monday evening though, he and his band took to the York Crescent stage and performed a faultless set of beautiful tracks – I have to put my hands up and say it was one of the most memorable sets I’ve seen in recent times.
Isaac came out to a haunting track, gripping the entire room right from the start. His voice was like nothing I’d ever heard before and had me right in the palm of his hand, captivated from the opening note. Throughout the evening, there were several comparisons I found myself drawing; Conor Mason of Nothing But Thieves was an obvious one when Gracie entered the higher registers, Tom Odell stylistically, and folk-rock legend Jeff Buckley.
What I loved most about the set was the clear definition between his debut, demo, EP to the EP “Death of you and I” and then his recent debut record release. With an injured hand from previous shows on the tour, it was his touring guitarist who took the reins on much of Gracie’s debut EP. On these tracks, his voice was incredibly exposed and many crowds would simply talk over such a quiet and calm vocal; not tonight though, the entire crowd bought into the stunning tracks including “darkness of the day”, a truly powerful, emotional song that sent goosebumps through my entire body such was the control over his vocal.
Isaac slowly built the set up over the course of the evening, and bar a few more boring, less complex tracks the choice of songs was perfect. His second EP “the death of you and I” produced some of the best tracks on the night; “one night” and “silhouettes of you” were two of the most assured, wonderful pieces of music I’d ever heard live and title track “the death of you and I” was a powerful set-highlight that had the room thumping their feet to the fast paces rhythm.
In between the music Isaac was a genuinely lovely guy also. Making jokes, taunting his band members for tuning too loud and being just a great overall act, Gracie left, I’m sure, a huge impression on many in the room. The control over his vocal never seemed to die either; new tracks “terrified” and “running on empty” were examples of how his sound has matured and grown since his demo EP was released and it was a pleasure to be in the presence of such an artist. Of all the comparisons I made through the night, the one that is sticking with me most, even listening to him right now, was that of Dry The River a band no longer making music sadly. That bands music was probably the best I’d ever heard whilst they were around and Isaac has well and truly filled that chasm that they left with his.
The night was poetic, magical and just a wonderful example of how music can be made when someone pours their heart into what they do. I will endeavour to make it to as many Isaac Gracie shows I can in the next few years; I cannot wait to see him grow into a special artist that will be lighting up stages globally for some time.