10 Questions with ... The Isaacs
September 19, 2016
The Isaacs are a family band whose sound blends gospel harmony with bluegrass instrumentation to create a unique, contemporary, acoustic style. They've been singing together for over 35 years. Family consists of matriarch Lily Isaacs (vocals), daughters Sonya Isaacs Yeary (mandolin and vocals) and Becky Isaacs Bowman (guitar and vocals) , and son Ben Isaacs (bass and vocals). Other members are Levi Bowman (Becky's son- electric guitar and vocals) and Nathan Fauscett (drums and perc). We all now reside in Hendersonville, TN, but the Isaacs grew up in Morrow, Ohio (30 mi n. of Cincinnati)
2. What does a normal day on the road look like for you?
Our bus driver drives overnight while we sleep (12 bunks)... we wake up at a hotel and as we wake up we shower in the rooms before heading to lunch. If we have time, we prefer a good sit down meal , if not, it's fast food to go and off to the venue to load in.... Our load in time is typically 5 hours before the concert start time. We have an extensive load in, set up and soundcheck that usually takes 3 ½ hours and then we have 30 min to relax before time to get ready for the show. After the concert we usually eat a late supper and go to bed, then wake up in the next town and repeat the routine.
3. Do you get to do much sightseeing on the road?
Not typically. By the time we wake up after a late night, and get ready , it's time to go to work. We usually only get a tour of the hotel, and whatever restaurant we have time to eat at.!
4. How much do you travel, what are the challenges?
We do about 110 concerts a year, so we are gone nearly 1/3 of our lives. It can get pretty tight on a 45 foot Prevost bus with 10-12 people for 3-4 days in a row. We manage to create our own space and we try to respect each other's needs.
5. How do you juggle life on the road with wanting to be home?
It's really tough sometimes ... we all have kids in school and spouses that dont travel all the time, so it is hard being gone a lot. Its a way of life though, and the only one we've ever known, so we make it work... We do have goals to slow down in the near future so we can enjoy our home life more.
6. What Artist has had the greatest impact on you?
Growing up our influences ranged from Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley to Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice to Mariah Carey and so many others. But probably our greatest influence was the Marshall Family!
7. The title of the new project is a little unusual. Tell us a little about it.
Our new cd is called "Nature's Symphony in 432". It is a little different than anything we've ever done, and has become a work of art and heart for us. As the title indicates, it is recorded in 432 hz tuning instead of the standard concert tuning of 440. Why? We have been on a spiritual journey exploring the healing frequencies and sounds of nature. God created an amazing world full of healing sounds, and peaceful environments and nowadays, we are completely missing it! Too busy working and existing... no wonder our world is sicker and more at unrest than its ever been. Before electricity, before tuners and modern technology, people would tune their instruments and sing to natures' sounds... Science is proving that this frequency is closest to A=432. So our desire was to honor the Creator and bring peace through music to the listener.
8. What's with the birds theme for your songwriting and artwork on this album?
Several reasons... Sonya had a stillborn baby girl at 6 months pregnancy in October of 2014.. Her name, Ayva, meant "little bird". Just 2 weeks prior to that, Lily's mother, Faye passed away at 95 years old. Her name also meant "little bird". Birds have become frequent visitors and reminders of God's faithfulness to us. They are used all throughout the Bible when reading of God's care and concern for his beloved. The Sonic Bloom is the name given to the amazing act of the birds singing at dawn, which science proves actually causes the plants to open their pores to receive the goodness of the dew, sunshine, and rain. God created everything with a spoken Word and His voice is still resounding through every living thing. We even miraculously, unintentionally recorded the sound of the Earth's frequency which you can hear in the opening of the first cut "Nature's Symphony". It has been an amazing experience for us.
9. Tell us about a couple songs on "Natures Symphony in 432".
Sonya and Becky co-wrote 14/15 songs on the new album. The subtitle of this project is "A Journey From Pain to Praise". We have all experienced personal struggle and loss in the last few years, and have tried to find the purpose in the pain through being transparent with our songs and testimonies. Some of our most inspired songs are Keep Breathing, and I Love You More, both written about Sonya's loss of her baby girl. Yours Amen is a reminder that we don't have to fight battles that we try to fight daily, but we can surrender them to God to fight in our place! Ben sings the heartfelt " If That's What It Takes " about his family's ongoing struggle with one members addiction, and LIly sings "I Find It All In You" about the peace only God can bring during the loneliest, darkest nights. "Lord of My Heart", "None So Lovely" and "God Is Still With Me" celebrate the faithfulness of God through these storms and take on a more "praise" nature.
10. Why is the song "Rocks" so applicable to today's world?
" Rocks" talks about how we need to mind our own business and quit judging other people! Its a relief to know that God doesn't judge us like people on facebook do!
1. How did Terry Bradshaw come to be the executive producer of this album?
Sonya first met Terry at the BMI Country music awards 3 years ago... Terry was equally thrilled to meet her because unbeknownst to them, he was a huge fan of the Isaacs. They exchanged numbers and he and all the Isaacs became great personal friends. When Terry learned that the Isaacs were self-funding and releasing this album on their newly created label, House of Isaacs, he asked if he could become the Executive Producer. The Isaacs gratefully accepted his offer and asked if he would join them on a song.. They recorded "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" as a last minute collaboration and added it to the album.
2. What is Terry like in real life?
Terry is one of the most genuine, funny, down to earth, loving people we've ever known. When he walks into a room, it just lights up with joy, and he is so kind to everyone he meets. We feel so honored to be able to call him a friend and to get to work along side him this way.. He is a devoted Christian and loves being a part of ministry however he can.
3. How & When did you all become believers?
We are all proud to be believers and followers of Jesus Christ! Lily became a Christian in 1971, after Joe, the patriarch of the Isaacs, lost a brother in a tragic car wreck. She was raised in a Jewish home by Polish Holocaust surviving parents who came to America when she was 2 years old from Germany after their liberation. All three of the Isaacs kids became believers when they were very young.
4. What's the biggest "God moment" you've ever experienced? Personally or professionally, when has God shown up in a powerful way?
This would have to be the moment we captured the Earth's frequency on audio this summer. We were praying hard about doing this album in 432.... knowing the obstacles and possible ridicule we would face. We wanted to open the album with beautiful birds singing, so one morning Becky, after devotion and prayer, noticed a more than normal amount of birds in her yard. She immediately went out and started recording the birds in her phone voice memos, and came inside to listen back . She noticed a tone that sounded much like a long wind chime symphony on the 5th recording that she didn't hear outside. Wondering if it was the earth's tone that blind pianist extraordinaire Gordon Mote told them he heard in quiet nature settings, she sent it to him. He replied completely astonished that she could hear it and that it was captured on recording! The most amazing thing is this frequency was a perfect C note in 432 tuning, which was the very key that the opening song had already been recorded in! We copied the exact sound she captured into the opening of the song. You can hear it right after the birds start singing and before the piano intro.... We were completely amazed that God granted us our prayerful desire to have some sort of tangible proof that what we were doing was His will. He is so great!!