Chris Isaak

Because Chris Isaak's pompadoured mug might as well be the picture of eternal California youth, it's a little discomfiting to realize that the Golden State singer-songwriter is now four years past his 50th birthday — and that it's been almost 20 years since his black-and-white romp on a Hawaiian beach with model Helena Christensen powered his sultry "Wicked Game" all the way to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Isaak may have never duplicated that kind of chart success, but he's hardly a one-hit wonder, and the way both his voice and face have aged suggests he's got a haggard-looking self-portrait somewhere in the attic of his San Francisco home. Since 1990's Heart Shaped World, Isaak has released a steady string of albums that never fail to intersperse lonesome ballads lush with his female-enrapturing croon — often compared, with good reason, to Roy Orbison — with livelier rockabilly and show-band numbers that allow his longtime band, anchored by native Texan drummer Kenney Dale Johnson, to flex their chops. Featuring duets with Trisha Yearwood and Michelle Branch, last year's Mr. Lucky is, for all intents and purposes, the long-awaited sequel to Isaak's 1995 melancholy masterpiece Forever Blue.


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