Dave Isaacs gets to where he’s always wanted to be and the view sure looks nice. It also sounds more than nice. The singer/songwriter and go-to guitarist thrills and inspires in the new single, “I Like What I See”. From the opening riffs – a pouncing electric guitar chopped into long extensions – to Isaacs’ heartfelt and contemplative singing style, “I Like What I See” is a rousing experience. It’s one thing to hear of an artist’s journey, it’s another to really feel like you’re in their shoes.
The Nashville-based blues guitarist, who dowses a hefty dose of rock into “I Like What I See”, has an interesting background. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Isaacs’ professional career in classical guitar was cut short from an injury. He turned to songwriting and settled in Music City. Isaacs is a sought-after collaborator and he’s also a well-respected instructor/author. What I found most enjoyable about “I Like What I See” is the way the song is actually crafted. It has moments that feel very freeing, like the sound could just go any direction. Or that the sound might be a blank slate and he’s gearing up for something bigger around the corner. His guitar almost revs up at the beginning, with that gunning action. As the song progresses, the depth of the melodic tones emerge and fill the atmosphere.
The guitar is overreaching – in a good way. The crux of the sound comes at the bridge, and that emotional highpoint is daunting and exhilarating. I think we often associate the melodic guitar with bands like Journey and Bon Jovi, but I found Issacs’ talents so refreshingly polished. I’m not saying guitarists like Neil Schon, Phil X or even Eddie Van Halen are not polished. No, not at all. Isaacs’ brings his tones and a classical vibe to the elated sound.
He does the same with his voice. It’s refined in a way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not energized. This song has such a climb to the mountain top and see what you’ve accomplished. I like the idea of that inspiration and the clever way Isaacs sings about it from his own perspective. I think he’s brave in putting his heart and soul out there for the world to hear. And he does it in a way that is almost ceremonial to his own lifelong journey. It’s quite inviting and gives you the feel good attitude (that is especially nice to hear at this time of year…and after the year we all had last year!). Sometimes that voice you need to hear doesn’t shout at you, and maybe it’s a little modest, but you hear it. That to me is what Isaacs does. He speaks softly and carries a big stick. His passionate singing is collected – like Jim Croce or maybe to some degree, Ryan Bingham. There is definite heartache and victory in his voice. “I Like What I See” is a triumph for an artist slinging a guitar that hits all the right notes.
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