On his fifth solo album Guy Wishart reveals an evident admiration for the music of US rocker Chris Isaak, he of Wicked Game fame. The pair are likely of a similar age, but it’s for a bunch of other reasons that the understated 1950s rock and roll stylings of Isaak fit Wishart’s bill, not least the experienced excellence of his fellow musicians who include Alan Brown on organ, Andrew Horst on bass, drummer Michael Te Young and Glenn Ross Campbell adding a country inflection with his pedal and lap steel. Recorded at Roundhead, with Jordan Stone engineering and Wishart self-producing, the band it seems recorded live takes, the selected best of which make up the dozen consistently excellent tracks found on ‘West By North’. Wishart won APRA’s Silver Scroll back in 1990 and there is a sense of a songwriting and arrangement master class lesson in this collection. Quality interpretive lyrics, unhurried song tempos, confident but always restrained vocal delivery, spacious instrumental presentation with some great solos, and overall a sense of effortlessness that reflects a pedigree Isaak would, I imagine, be happy to be linked with. A fabulous album from a proven Kiwi songsmith who by now seems more than happy to be singing about everyman’s kind of love and loss, while revelling in his influences.