Kate Isenberg

Kate Isenberg

 San Francisco, California, USA

Best Female Singer-Songwriter Album finalist; Best Lyrics finalist, Triple-A radio play; a lyricist to play over and over again; a singer to steal your heart, and a guitarist to be reckoned with.


"Impeccable songwriting"--in the words of one reviewer--is what makes San Francisco-based Kate Isenberg stand out from other girls (and boys) with guitars. On her second studio album, GOLD RUSH TOWN, Isenberg offers alternately thought-provoking and funny stories of life's ambitions and detours. With clear, soulful vocals that can show-stop or whisper secrets; guitar riffs that make unusual chord progressions sound easy; and full-band arrangements of chamber-pop and tongue-in-cheek indie rock, GOLD RUSH TOWN is both sophisticated and accessible. Isenberg's listeners play her songs over and over not just for the ear candy, but also the food for thought. GOLD RUSH TOWN was a finalist for Best Lyrics in the Indie Acoustic Project's annual contest to recognize the best in acoustic songwriting from around the world.

A graduate of Harvard in English, as well as a writer and an illustrator from the time she could hold a felt-tip pen, Isenberg has always embraced the power of stories to deepen life's wonder. Many of GOLD RUSH TOWN's song-stories contain a final twist, compelling a close listen all the way to the fade-out. In the slow-build, anthemic "View of the Ocean," a stood-up would-be lover finds unexpected solace in a coastal drive. In "Kingpin of the Playground" (a mix of Police-style jangle and Shawn Colvin-style wit), the fickle light of fifth-grade romance casts a surprisingly long shadow. "Promiscuous Heart," which sets brooding electric and acoustic guitars against carefree toy piano, dramatizes the struggle to tame a mischievous heart, which Isenberg admonishes to "return the rhyme and the meter to the shelf." She is never afraid to question the role of rhyme and meter, which yields pop songs deeper for the self-awareness.

Isenberg drew on a talented team to flesh out GOLD RUSH TOWN's multilayered arrangements. In addition to her core band members (Aaron Brinkerhoff, drums; Fergus D. Lenehan, bass), Isenberg enlisted Jon Evans (bassist for Tori Amos), of the Berkeley, Ca., studio San Pablo Recorders, as co-arranger and co-producer. Accordionist/organist/pianist Julie Wolf (Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco), trumpeter Erik Jekabson (John Mayer), cellist Marcie Brown, and clarinetist Zack Pitt-Smith, together with Evans on upright bass and lap steel, helped create a richer, more diverse sound than on Isenberg's previous releases. As a recording enthusiast and an accomplished composer, Isenberg conceived and finalized all of the arrangements in her home studio. The result is a collection of songs in which each instrument plays a deliberate, distinctive, and integral character.

Growing up in the Bay Area, Isenberg began studying violin at age eight. In high school, she discovered the smart pop of Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, and the Indigo Girls. After teaching herself guitar in college, she began performing her own songs at top listening rooms as part of the duo Vice Versa, pushing the boundaries of her guitar playing to include alternate tunings. Her first studio solo album, THE TIME COMES ON HUMMING TRACKS, won diehard fans and critical acclaim (About.com "Best Unknown Folk Artist"; KFOG radio airplay; Indie Acoustic Project "Finalist, Best Singer-Songwriter Album of 2007").

Far from resting on this success, Isenberg pushes her musical boundaries even further on GOLD RUSH TOWN, from her vocal technique to her ever-evolving instrumental skills (which now include electric and acoustic guitar, violin, banjo, and mandolin). The result is her most evocative, substantive album to date.

Contact: info@kateisenberg.com
Press kit: www.sonicbids.com/kateisenberg
Publishing: Kate Isenberg/Three Roads Records (ASCAP)
On the web: www.kateisenberg.com OR www.myspace.com/kateisenbergmusic OR http://www.facebook.com/kateisenbergmusic


GOLD RUSH TOWN (2010) Full-length CD. Independent release by Three Roads Records.

THE TIME COMES ON HUMMING TRACKS (2007): Full-length CD. Independent release by Three Roads Records.

DOLORES PARK CAFE ANNIVERSARY (2007): CD sampler. Released by Dolores Park Cafe, San Francisco, CA. Features "James" by Kate Isenberg (track 2, selected by the cafe from a Bay Area-wide pool of singer-songwriters).

HUNTING THE ZODIAC (2007). Film soundtrack. Features "Long Winter," by Kate Isenberg. International release, DVD sales.

THAT'S WHAT I HATE ABOUT FEMALES (2006). Film soundtrack. Features "Long Winter," by Kate Isenberg, performed live by Kate Isenberg and Vassi Johri. National screenings.

INDIE SAMPLER VOLUME 8 (2005): CD sampler. Released by Strange Bird Songs. Features
"No Need" by Kate Isenberg (track 4), selected by label from a nationwide songwriter search; other contributors include Amy Ray and Michelle Malone).

MUSIC STEW VOLUME 2 (2005): CD sampler. Released by Bazaar Cafe. Features "No Need" by Kate Isenberg (track 2, selected by venue in a Bay Area songwriter contest).

BETWEEN THE LINES (2005): Film soundtrack. Features "She Knows" and "Long Winter," by Kate Isenberg. National and international screening.

Set List

Typical set length: 45 minutes each
Typical number of sets: 1 or 2
Opening set length: 20-45 minutes (adjustable)

Streetcar to Grace
Don't Misunderstand
Kingpin of the Playground
She's Gone Serious
View of the Ocean
Let It Be Small
Gold Rush Town
Seven League Boots
She Knows
Promiscuous Heart
Long Winter
Fireflies (acoustic mellow version or electric high-energy version)
Coming Home
Never Say Never
Birthday Shade of Blue

Assorted covers (varies):
Stay In Touch (Joni Mitchell)
Kathy's Song (Paul Simon)
Green Eyes (Coldplay)
Gumboots (Paul Simon)
Stewball (Traditional)