Austin Leonard Jones
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Izaak Opatz is a mountain man (from Montana)! He works in National Parks, cutting trails through the woods, probably wearing a vest or a funny hat and crapping in holes in the ground that he digs with an antique little folding shovel (maybe). He’ll go weeks on end without seeing another single person. When he does finally wander into town, he usually brings with him a pack-mule-donkey-satchel-thing, chock full of songs about women that he’s been dreaming of, places where he used to be happy, situations he screwed up… really dipping into a well of memories that’s probably better left alone.
His songs teeter on the edge of sentimental-songwriter’y-sad-n-lonely crap. This is a very tough area for a songwriter to inhabit. Mainly because it’s so easy to get lumped in with the rest of the middle-aged losers down at the Applebee’s open mic (next to the airport). BUT IZAAK DOES IT SO WELL that you actually start making plans to visit Montana and you tell the wife you love her. Maybe you order hiking boots on Zappos right that moment. You even make little changes like fast-forwarding through the commercials again - you touch your finger to your lips and think, “I wonder why I stopped doing that?” His songs have got you and you don’t want to be let go. And If you’re anything like me, you want to be a part of what he’s got going on, simply because it’s so damn good.
My favorite lyrics are Izaak’s. My favorite melodies are Izaak’s, and even writing this bio is getting me amped to go blast his music in my garage - just begging someone, ANYONE to come tell me to turn it down. I’ll be right here, machete in hand, ready to force anyone to listen. LISTEN:
“SHE GIVES ME LOVE UNDER THE TABLE / I WAS HARD PRESSED AND NOT THINKING STRAIGHT / I’VE BEEN SO LONG DREAMING OF HER ANKLES / UN-SOCKED AND LOCKED ACROSS THE BACK OF MY WAIST” (Limited Liability)
See him live, just once, and you may notice yourself imagining your life at home with your very own Izaak, living in the basement, teaching your wife and children how to tie knots… He’s part of the family now. If he sticks around a night or two, you may feel compelled to offer up your prettiest daughter’s hand in marriage. But take warning, dear readers, if you turn your back on him for even one minute, he’ll probably wander back up the mountain and give up whatever it is you offer, no matter how sweet the sitch, or pretty the daughter. He’s got his own agenda and it’s frustrating but also so admirable. My advice is to catch him whenever and however you can, and celebrate this sensitive mountain man while he’s around.
- Jonny Fritz
Last Exit Live
717 S. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ, 85004