Thursday, March 3, 2011: Bill and Kate Isles

Bill and Kate Isles

Bill and Kate Isles are wonderful musicians and performers. They are also two of the nicest people I know. It is a great pleasure and privilege to be able to host them again. They bring a personal warmth and romantic sensibility that will lift even the most cynical spirit. Their songs cover a variety of topics, most telling a story of life and its meaning.

Bill Isles (Duluth, MN) performed his first show of original songs in twenty-five years in February of 2000. Since that time, he has become one of the most well known singer/songwriters in the Minnesota acoustic scene and has been getting national and international attention.

His and Kate’s songs are poetic reflections of life experiences and often explore adventurous spiritual courses. Admittedly romantics, many of their lyrics focus on the joys of relationships, but others explore metaphorical worlds. Just when you conclude that a song is about Michelangelo’s first visit to scope out the project at the Sistine Chapel, you start to realize that, perhaps, this is also an artist’s perception of entering the “chapel” of his/her audience. But then, again, it also hints at personal interactions. It is this multi-layering that has drawn fans to listen over and over again. Words like “mesmerizing” and “transcendent” are common in descriptions of his live performances, not to mention, “very funny”, such as the response to “The Sutra (Comma) Minnesota Polka”.

Bill’s love of life has strong roots in his childhood, but his urgency to tell these stories comes from an experience in 1993 when, with just enough warning to drive himself to the hospital, his heart stopped beating. He arrived with just ten minutes to spare. After being defibrillated, and before the doctors had time to detect and open a blocked artery in his heart, he made a commitment to himself that, if he survived, he would begin to write again. Those paddles restarted more than his heart…

Highlights …
2001 – Winner of the 2001 Minnesota Folk Festival New Folk Songwriting Contest
2002 – Nominee for the 2002 Minnesota Music Awards Song of the Year for “I Can’t Take You Home” a duet with Becky Schlegel (From “Weightless” 2001)
2005 – Performance Alley Showcase Artist, Int’l Folk Alliance Conference, Montreal, QU
2008 – Main Stage Performance, Big Top Chautauqua, Mt. Ashwabay, WI
2008 – Formal Showcase Artists, Midwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference, Chicago, IL
2008 – Formal Showcase Artists, Far-Western Regional Folk Alliance Conference, Phoenix, AZ
2009 – WFMT-FM (NPR) FolkStage Concert, broadcast live in Chicago, replayed on XM Radio
2010 – “Matching Baggage” named one of “Top CDs of 2009” by multiple public radio stations

Kate Isles was a closet singer/songwriter, full-time wine representative and dedicated single-mom when she came to a CD release concert for Bill’s first CD, “Weightless” after hearing a radio interview. She bought the CD and signed up on his e-mail list. (“Grounds for marriage!” quips Bill)

Their relationship began soon afterwards with afternoon sessions with guitars, harmonies and coffee. They’ve been together ever since, marrying in May of 2004. While Bill initially toured solo, Kate is becoming an integral part of the act, with extensive duo touring planned for 2008 to support their upcoming duet album, “Matching Baggage” which will include several songs that they’ve co-written. The response has been very positive with many comments about the “perfect blend of two voices”. “I’m honored to hear such things,” said Kate, “it reflects the wonderful relationship that we’ve enjoyed.” They have toured as a duo full time, nationally, since early 2007.

Please join us for an evening of music and friendship.

Suggested artist donation $15

Music starts at 7:00 p.m. Socializing from 6:00 p.m.

Light refreshments provided, BYO wine and/or potluck refreshments to share are welcome.

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

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