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The Award-Winning Isaacs Make the Most of “The Living Years”

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The Living Years by The IsaacsNashville, TN -- Award-winning family group The Isaacs will release an all-new CD recording, The Living Years, on August 13th. Produced by Ben Isaacs (Oak Ridge Boys, Gaither Vocal Band) and Bill Gaither, the new release, recorded acoustically, captures the intricate family harmonies that have made this group a household name among Gospel music lovers and showcases the type of arrangements and musicality that have made them known for their “pedal-steel blend.”

“This release is really about the vocals and represents what we are doing the most LIVE in concert these days,” describes Ben, “whether at a bluegrass festival, a gospel concert or a church, we are emphasizing our harmonies and using less instruments on stage. You still get the stand-up bass, mandolin, banjo, guitar and percussion and the bluegrass numbers; but our overall approach in a LIVE setting is one that focuses on our harmony, which is where it all started for us.”

Those seamless harmonies are featured on the recording’s opener—a cover of “The Living Years,” a pop hit from the 80s originally recorded by Mike + the Mechanics. “Bill [Gaither] suggested this song to us, and we are so glad he did,” recalls Ben. “What a great song. Our version is a bit looser and acoustic in style which I think brings the lyrics more front and center.” Lyrics remain “front and center” on the group’s covers of the Gospel classics “For Those Tears I Died,” “I Am a Child of God” and “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” and on their impeccable, acapella rendition of “I Must Tell Jesus.” “Walk Together Children” is another acapella selection that features a signature “boom boom” bass part by Bill Gaither. “This song sounds like a song from the 30s or 40s,” Ben explains. “This is one of those kinds of songs that Bill really loves. It has a barber shop feel.” “Bill is brilliant with harmony,” adds Lily, “the three parts come more naturally for us, but Bill is a master and a perfectionist with that fourth part—with those arrangements with chords that ‘rub’ together more unexpectedly.”

Not so unexpectedly, the group chose to record a Dottie Rambo-penned classic. “Becky brought ‘If That Isn’t Love’ to the bus one day before a show,” Ben recalls. “We went over it and Bill said, ‘We’re gonna sing this tonight!’ He often plays piano in concert with us for this song when we are with him. He is the ‘king of feel’ on the piano.” Bill, Gloria and Buddy Greene wrote a new song for the release entitled “Leave It All on the Altar.” “You know it’s like a house. You make it look real modern, and that is going to date it eventually,” describes Ben. “You build a classic home and you won’t know when it was built. Bill is like that with songs, and this is an example of a new song that sounds timeless. This cut is more swamp-y…blues-y. It’s the most fun I had playing in the studio during the recording.”

Another “fun” tune featured on The Living Years is the classic “Ac-Cent-Tchu-ate the Positive.” “Becky brought this to the table,” recalls Lily. “She heard Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters’ version from the 40s, and we really learned it from the YouTube clip! This tune is familiar to a lot of people, and we love to watch audiences warmly singing along.”

Crowds can also join in on the group’s rendition of “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” originally recorded by The Judds. Recorded at Ricky Skaggs’ studio, Sonya used one of Ricky’s octave mandolins on this recording, and she eventually purchased it from him and now performs the song with it in concert. “This song takes me to my dad’s parents’ home in Kentucky,” says Ben with a smile. “They were the epitome of what this song is about--being together, plowing fields, taking care of their cabin with 17 kids and no running water—this lyric takes me to that spot; and it features my favorite line on the entire album: “Did daddys really never go away?”

The newly written “I Wanna Be There” was an idea from Sonya and Becky that they brought to life with Sonya’s husband, Jimmy Yeary. An emotional tearjerker getting early rave reviews, the song features Gordon Mote on the piano which marks the only time piano is used on The Living Years.

Also releasing on Tuesday is Up Close and Personal, an all-new DVD from The Isaacs that contains an intimate time of conversation and performances around the piano with Bill, numerous appearances from various Homecoming stages ranging from Alaska to Jerusalem and a moving tribute to Lily’s mother.

The Living Years CD and DVD will be exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and made available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes and Amazon.
The release will be featured on tv networks including RFD, PBS, DISH TV, DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, TBN, Family Net, FFE, RURAL TV, TNN, Airtime, CTN, The Walk TV (formerly Legacy), TCT and TLN and also in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, Grace TV and the Miracle Channel. In addition, the DVD will be featured on Gaither TV (available on Roku, Google and the Internet).

For further information regarding The Isaacs, You can follow them at Facebook and on Twitter.
Not so unexpectedly, the group chose to record a Dottie Rambo-penned classic. “Becky brought ‘If That Isn’t Love’ to the bus one day before a show,” Ben recalls. “We went over it and Bill said, ‘We’re gonna sing this tonight!’ He often plays piano in concert with us for this song when we are with him. He is the ‘king of feel’ on the piano.” Bill, Gloria and Buddy Greene wrote a new song for the release entitled “Leave It All on the Altar.” “You know it’s like a house. You make it look real modern, and that is going to date it eventually,” describes Ben. “You build a classic home and you won’t know when it was built. Bill is like that with songs, and this is an example of a new song that sounds timeless. This cut is more swamp-y…blues-y. It’s the most fun I had playing in the studio during the recording.”

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