Bill & Kate Isles in Concert Conversations May 8

Bill and Kate Isles will be featured at the next Concert Conversations at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, at Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford. The duo uses a variety of musical styles in their performances to carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

Bill and Kate Isles are an acoustic singer/songwriter duo based in Duluth, Minn. They will be featured at the next Concert Conversations, 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, at Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford.

Using a variety of musical styles, their performances carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences from metaphorical worlds to small-town family stories and to zany comedy. Consummate performers, they are known for their catchy melodies and memorable songs. They have a deep-seated love for the audience, and each other, and it shows at every performance. They tour nationally, singing for audiences large and small, from house concerts to festival stages and everything in between. Words like “Mesmerizing,” “Transcendent,” and even “Hysterical” are common descriptions from audience reviews.

Bill Isles (born and raised in Duluth, Minn.) performed his first show of original songs after a 21-year hiatus, in February 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. 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 he experienced a sudden cardiac arrest and was able to drive himself to the hospital. He arrived with just 10 minutes to spare. After being defibrillated, and before doctors had time to detect and open a blocked artery in his heart, he promised himself that if he survived, he would begin to write again. Those paddles restarted more than just his heart.

Kate Isles (born in Tecumseh, Neb., raised in Rochester, Minn.) was a closet singer/songwriter when she came to a CD release concert for Bill’s first CD, Weightless, after hearing a public radio interview. She bought the CD and signed up on his e-mail list. (“Grounds for marriage!” quips Bill.) Their song, “Public Radio (A True Story)” is a delightful duet that chronicles these beginnings.

Their relationship began in the ensuing months as they enjoyed afternoon sessions with guitars, harmonies and coffee. They’ve been together ever since, marrying in May 2004. They have toured nationally as a duo, full time, since early 2007, performing about 150 shows per year. Their late-2011 album, Still Beneath the Stars and Moon, includes 10 new original songs, and showcases their respective songwriting with several of Kate’s songs as well as a few they’ve co-written. The response has been very positive.

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious) space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience the passion of the art that drives him/her, which speaks to the passion that drives us.

$10 seating is limited to the first 80 people who arrive. For more information, call (815) 964-2238 or visit

From the May 2-8, 2012, issue

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