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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 the Sun worshipper.

An intoxicating mix of Elvis Presley’s early rockabilly and Roy Orbison’s haunted crooning, Chris Isaak has maintained a sizable following over his career.

Izaak writes much of his material. Sometimes he’s subtle (“Blue Spanish Sky,” “Let Me Down Easy”), sometimes he rocks (“You Owe Me Some Kind Of Love,” “Blue Hotel”). Occasionally he builds from restrained to rowdy within a few bars (“Somebody's Crying,” “Please”), or breaks the musical mold completely, as with the sexy growler, “Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing.” Almost always, though, Chris sings about heartbreak. For those who wish to know that they are not alone when feeling the pain of unrequited love, or if you feel that you were “done wrong” by your girl, these are your songs.Besides the subject matter, it doesn’t hurt that Izaak's band can actually play, and he can actually sing. In a world of manufactured “stars,” it is nice to know that some musicians can really do music. Chris has a good voice and wonderful delivery, and thrills his live audiences by reaching up to the stars for some high falsetto notes with ease. (Just listen to him sing Orbison's "Only the Lonely" on the audio sample below).

Along with the aforementioned Izaak classics, “Best Of” includes four previously unreleased tracks. The bluesy brooder “King With A Castle” and the boisterous relationship ender “Let’s Have A Party” are nice additions to the Isaak catalog. An acoustic version of “Forever Blue” is even lovelier than the original. And there's a live, noisy cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” 

This is one artist who is not stuck in a rut. He obviously has a variety of musical tastes and styles.

To hear audio samples, click HERE.