Did anyone else catch Chris Isaak’s return to television last night? The singer-actor-personality debuted The Chris Isaak Hour on the Biography Channel, which is essentially his own version of Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… For his inaugural show, Isaak welcomed country star Trisha Yearwood. Now, I have to be honest: I wasn’t particularly enthused about the show beforehand, and that can mostly be attributed to talk show fatigue. With Jimmy Fallon joining the late night fray on Monday, it feels a bit crowded in TV land these days.
But I found myself really charmed by The Chris Isaak Hour, and that’s mostly because of Isaak himself. He has a sort of affable, goofy sincerity, and is not one to shy away from self-deprecating humor, which is of course why he’s perfect for a show like this. It helps that he seems to have an easy rapport with Yearwood. In return, Yearwood was surprisingly candid in retracing her steps to stardom — from tour guiding at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, meeting her future husband Garth Brooks for the first time, to joking how she pretty much gave Matthew McConaughey his career with a guest spot in her “Walkaway Joe” video. (Isaak astutely pointed out that McConaughey was, of course, shirtless at one point in the video.)
Spliced in between the interview were five performances: A couple of duets between Isaak and Yearwood (including “Breaking Apart,” off Isaak’s just-released Mr. Lucky album), and solo renditions of songs like “Cowboys Are My Weakness.” All in all, a solid hour of television (if a bit awkward in spots). With guests like Stevie Nicks, Michael Buble, and Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) forthcoming, I will definitely be tuning in again (the show will air weekly, Thursdays at 10 p.m.). What about you, PopWatchers? Who was digging the offbeat charm of Mr. Isaak? And did anyone else find it funny that Yearwood gave McConaughey one of his first big breaks?