It has been a while since Chris Isaak has played in Stockton. On Friday, April 6, Isaak will be bringing his Beyond the Sun Tour home to the Bob Hope Theater in Stockton, with special guest Nick Isaak.
It is a perfect tour for a homecoming concert. The Beyond the Sun Tour is in support of Isaak’s most recent release, “Beyond The Sun.” This record is a homecoming of sorts. It is the record, “I have always wanted to make,” said Isaak.
Yes, after more than a quarter of a century into his career, Isaak has finally created the album he’s always wanted to make.
“Beyond the Sun,” Isaak’s first Vanguard Records release out Oct. 18, is truly a labor of love. Since he was a child, spinning his parents 45s in their Stockton home, this deeply committed artist has been obsessed with the glory days of Memphis’ Sun Studio and the visionary artists who got their starts there — including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis — all of them discovered and nurtured by the late, great Sun Records founder Sam Phillips.
Now, at long last, Isaak has acted on this lifelong obsession, magically recapturing the transformative hepcat brilliance of the classic sides cut by these greats at Sun with Phillips during the mid-’50s, while also getting down to the heart and soul of his own deeply rooted musical identity.
“Beyond the Sun” is available in both the 14-song standard set as well as a double album version that includes an additional 11 tracks.
“I did this because I love this music — that’s the entire reason,” Isaak explained, advising, “you gotta listen to the original ones — they’re classics — they’re awesome but you can have fun with them. These guys discovered this music for us and we had to rediscover it. There’s no way to do it exactly like they did it, so you’ve gotta give a little bit of your own take on it.”
Considering how unmistakably Isaak’s own music has been inspired by that of the Sun greats, particularly Presley and Orbison, the obvious question is, what took him so long?
“When I started making music, I thought that if I do those songs, where do I go from there?” he said. “I wanted to make sure I found my own sound and established who I was. But I always loved that music and I wrote songs in that spirit. You can go through all my songs and you won’t find one reference to goin’ to the bop. They’re about my life, not about nostalgia for the ’50s. I came to a point where I felt like the time was right to do this record. I’d met all my heroes and worked with most of them, and I didn’t hear anybody else doing it the way I wanted to do it.”
Isaak knew he had to bring his band to Sun Studio for part of the recording process for his new album. After all, it’s where all his heroes got their start. Besides, Sun Studio was founded by another one of his long time idols, the late great Sam Phillips.
“I remember getting a copy of Oxford American Magazine about Sam Philips, the guy who pretty much got rock and roll going. Without Sam, and Sun Studio, I don’t think we would have rock and roll. He’s a bonafide genius, one of those guys who looks and sees how things are going to be, only he is 50 or a 100 years ahead of his time. He found Elvis. He found Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis — he recorded Howlin’ Wolf and BB King. To have built the studio in the middle of Memphis way back when, to set up your recorder, and to have found all those singers — and get those amazing performances — he was really way out there on his own,” Isaak said.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, ticketmaster.com and Stockton Arena box office, stocktonarena.com.