In April, three-time GRAMMY-nominated band The Issacs could win their first “Roots Gospel Album” award for “Songs for the Times.” The release earned members of the Gospel Music Hall of Famers and new Grand Ole Opry inductees the title of “Bluegrass/Roots/Country Album of the Year” at the annual GMA Dove Awards in October.
‘Songs for the Times’ has a relevant tone, having come out of a tense time of being forced off the road during the Covid-19 shutdown. According to the band’s founder and vocalist Lilly Isaacs, the plan was to release “The American Face” crossover but “because of the publicity and the need to be on the road to push it”, they decided to keep it on. the shelf. . Then, she added, they “got together for their fans alone” and took to social media.
“We came up with the idea of recording an album in my son’s studio and living the entire album from start to finish,” she said. “We thought it would be a great experience, from the very beginning to the end of the project, just let them be inside.”
The group, also made up of his children Ben Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Becky Isaacs Bowman, then set up four cameras in the control room for several days from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. They solicited opinions on everyone’s favorite songs and got over 500 responses. Then hundreds of fans tuned in every day, watching releases, bugs, redesigns and all.
“If you messed up, it was on you,” she said. “We were very vulnerable with all of this.”
Although the band, which has performed with Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss and John Rich, is recognized as one of the earliest bluegrass and country bands, Lilly Isaacs says her family’s musical influences come from a variety of genres, including his own time as a folk singer in the 60s.
“We just do what makes us feel good,” she said. “I just don’t think it really inspired anyone. And concretely, I think we are recording something that feels good. And then the harmonies appear.
In August, the delayed project “The American Face” will give listeners a taste of this musical diversity, with new versions of “You’re the Inspiration” from Chicago, “We Can Work It Out” from the Beatles, “Forever and For Always” and “More Than Words” from Extreme.
“It broadens our reach,” Isaacs explained. “So people feel warmer to us if they don’t know who we are. And then we’ll also do our gospel songs. So I think that kind of expands what we do to a different audience, to a variety of people. And I love that.
Isaacs also loves the cross-generational appeal of their music, seeing grandparents and grandkids attend concerts together.
“We saw a lot of old people and a lot of young people too,” she said. “In the performing arts centers we get young teenagers who come with their families because they want to learn to play the mandolin and that sort of thing. It is a mixture of all of the above. And I like that because it’s people who are creative and I don’t care if it’s music or art or dance or whatever, it’s healthy for people. people to do that.