Graham Isaacson

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To categorize Graham Isaacson as a typical singer-songwriter, one would be missing the point. On his debut, Memories in Shadows, Portland, Maine-based Graham Isaacson sounds like an old soul. His Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen-inspired music evokes feelings of intimacy, truth, and heartfelt emotion. His straight-from-the-heart lyrics would make most think he’s been around the block more than the rest of us. And yet at 23, it’s clear his gifts have only just begun.Graham Isaacson began his interest in music as a piano-noodling toddler and began writing his first songs as a teenager. “When I first heard David Grey’s White Ladder and Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, it completely changed my way of thinking. That’s when I started to write pretty seriously.” You can still hear traces of both of those artists in Isaacson’s current set list. Once Graham ventured off to college, his songwriting became all-consuming. “That’s when I realized I wanted to be a performer.” He’s been performing ever since and, in the process, amassed a respectable local following and a sizable MySpace fan club as well.Memories In Shadows was produced by Melodrome’s Robby Baier at SubStation Recording in Housatonic, Massachusetts. Recorded in an old train station, Memories In Shadows manages to be both sweeping and beautifully raw in its delivery, with Graham’s voice and lyrical guitar lines often taking center stage. In fact, it’s exactly those qualities that contributed to Graham landing Second place honors in the 2006 International Songwriting Competition (ISC), no easy feat considering the who’s who panel of judges: Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Joss Stone, and LeAnn Rimes. It’s also worth mentioning that the ISC received close to 50,000 entries from 82 countries throughout the world, of which Graham’s was one. American Idol be damned.Graham’s uniqueness and dedication have also gained him the notice and respect of another of Portland, Maine’s notable residents—Ray LaMontagne. “He’s been really supportive and we’ve become good friends.” They’ve also written a few songs together that “will hopefully be on the next album.” Graham has also recently begun co-writing with other established brethren like Joey and Gavin Degraw, Jeff Cohen, and the Spin Doctor’s Chris Barron. At 23, an old soul indeed.