Southern Gospel Times News Item
The Isaacs Release New Album
Nashville, TN (November 1, 2011) — Gaither Music Group celebrates today’s release of Why Can’t We, the all-new, studio recording by the award-winning Isaacs. Produced by group member and acclaimed producer Ben Isaacs, the new release, which was recorded in Nashville, follows the group’s previous recording Naturally, which remained in the Top 10 BILLBOARD Bluegrass Chart for over 71 weeks following its debut.
Group member Sonya Isaacs Yeary and husband, Jimmy Yeary, along with group member Becky Isaacs Bowman, penned nine of the songs for this release. One of those new songs, penned by the Yearys with songwriter Ben Hayslip, is “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” the current hit country single by country star Martina McBride.
“I was writing with Ben Hayslip and Sonya,” recalls Jimmy, “and Sonya had this idea of writing about her mom's (Lily’s) story of surviving breast cancer. We threw around some thoughts as to how we’d approach it. We decided to let Lily tell her story, so we put her on speaker phone, and she just really told her story in detail. We based the song on that. It took us about three hours to write it. It can be difficult to put the word ‘cancer’ in a song, but we wanted to talk about breast cancer specifically and some of the hardships that come with that. We started writing it with no notion of what would happen with this song. We just loved writing it and getting it on paper. Then we got the call that Martina had heard it and loved it.”
Lily Isaacs and Becky Isaacs Bowman appear alongside Katy Couric, Sheryl Crow, Robin Roberts and Hoda Kotb, among others, in McBride’s video for the song.
“Sometimes when you record songs, what works in the studio may not translate to an audience,” explains Becky. “When we started writing for this record, we really had that in mind. The more that you are transparent about yourself, the more your audience can identify with you. We wanted to share our stories of survival and victories, so we wrote songs that dealt with things that we want to be transparent about in concert.”
For Becky that includes the song "Waiting in the Water," a song based on the Bible story of the blind man who had an encounter with Jesus and who was told to go to the pool and wash. “It was a two- mile journey to that well according to commentaries,” Becky describes, “and Jesus wasn’t about showmanship; but for some reason, He told the blind man to find his way to the water. I think Jesus wanted to see how strong the blind man's faith was and how obedient he was. Jesus would be waiting in the water.
“Some people are instantly healed,” continues Becky, who was diagnosed herself for ten years with a rare case of Crohns' disease causing inflammation to her eyes and nerve endings, “and some people have to take a journey of faith. I prayed and prayed for healing and felt hopeless so many times. I felt that, like the blind man, I would have to take a step of faith and believe that He would be ‘waiting for me in the water.’ This song is my healing story, and I have found that I can talk to people in a hopeless stage, whether it’s from a long-term illness or something else, because I have been there.”
The Isaacs continue their vulnerability on the release with the song "Why." “I think we are sometimes afraid to ask ‘why’ because we don’t want to question God,” explains Becky, “but when you look at David [in the Bible] and all of his mistakes and questions, you see that in the end God called him ‘a man after His own heart.’ I don't think God minds us asking questions. Sometimes they come from the heart...that is what God wants--a heart for Him. We all make mistakes like David did, but it's not how you start the race; it's how you finish the race with God.”
Why Can’t We also includes the cover tunes “I Still Trust You,” “Hallelujah Turnpike” and “I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary.” The group created a rendition of “I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary” to perform at the Tribute to the Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither event that was held this year at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The audience as well as Bill Gaither liked it so much the group knew it would be featured on the new recording.
“We like to put our twist on songs to make them sound like us,” says Ben. “You can copy others, but the things that make an impression in most any kind of music are the things that have been different. It’s ok to get the basics from inspiration; but from that, you need to be an original and find what makes a song sound like you.”
The group did just that with the bluegrass tune “Hallelujah Turnpike,” a song they were asked to learn for a tv special/tribute they were doing for the legendary Lewis Family. “We thought it was a fun song and down to the styling of the fiddle, we tried to emulate Buddy Spicher, really creating a tribute to The Lewis Family legacy.
“We thought it was time for a true ‘Isaacs’ band record,’” continues Ben, “I really like the title cut that says, ‘If God can forgive, then why can't we?’ People may forgive, but we don’t often forget, and we find it hard to let go. Musically, I think the track marries this song perfectly...sometimes you only get close to that during a recording.”
The Isaacs have a long history, however, of doing more than “getting close” while creating moving music. The group has received a GRAMMY® nomination, three GMA DOVE Award nominations including a win for Bluegrass Album of the Year and a 2011 nod for Christmas Album of the Year (Christmas, Gaither Music Group), two IBMA Award nominations, an ICM nom and an SPBGMA Award. They have also received fan award nominations for Band of the Year, Song of the Year, Favorite Mixed Group and Instrumentalist of the Year (Sonya); and Ben has won two IBMA Awards as a producer.
Why Can’t We is available everywhere Christian music is sold and is being distributed at retail and digitally through EMI CMG Distribution. The new recording will be positioned heavily at retail throughout the fall and winter alongside other Gaither Music Group releases and will be aired as part of a direct tv campaign on networks including GAC, RFD, INSP, GMC, TBN, FamilyNet, CTS, CTN, TCT, TLN, Airtime 1, GMTN, Grace, Legacy, Miracle and Vision.
For further information regarding The Isaacs, please visit www.TheIsaacs.com or www.gaither.com, Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IsaacsMusic and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheIsaacs.
About The Isaacs
The Isaacs is a multi-award-winning family group that blends tight harmony with contemporary acoustic instrumentation, winning the praise of critics and the loyalty of audiences all over the world. The Isaacs, known for their hair-raising arrangements, perform frequently at The Grand Ole Opry and are favorites on the Gaither Homecoming video and concert series. The group has performed with legendary performers such as Dolly Parton, Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Paul Simon, Vince Gill, Randy Owen, Trisha Yearwood, Ralph Stanley, Mark Lowry and many more.
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