Laurel Isbister

Laurel Isbister

BandFolkNew Age

Spirited, Balkan and Blues infused acoustic music. The kind of singing that calms you & gets you laughing. The kind of atmosphere that lulls you yet makes you wonder. Influences include: Michael Hedges, Aimee Mann and Joni Mitchell


Laurel studied music at New College of Southern Florida where her appreciation for world music and scholastic achievements awarded her a Fulbright Scholarship that sent her to Bulgaria to study traditional Bulgarian folk music for a year. Upon returning she pursued world music studies getting her masters at UCLA where she completed her courses in 1999. The trip to Bulgaria strengthened both Laurel's vocal range and compositions. Settling in Oakland, she began to write her own songs, drawing on a pool of inspiration developed over years of not only the study of music, but also the study of life.

The result was an eleven track CD entitled, Nona Mae's Wishes. The recordings mix Laurel's gift for songwriting with her world music studies. She performs her own arrangement of a rural love song from Bosnia, and mixes in bits of a Bulgarian folk song into "Where's the Heart?" In addition, songs like, "If You Want To Dance..." and "Roll On!" highlight Laurel's ability to portray her own struggle, as a woman and a human being. Themes such as acceptance, heartbreak and healing are interwoven throughout the CD and culminate in Laurel's moving tribute to her deceased grandmother entitled "Nona Mae." "I love that this CD was recorded live, at a house concert in Oakland, California," Laurel says. "The presence of friends, good food and a very good atmosphere helped create a loving, confident, and quirky recording."


"Nona Mae's Wishes" LP released 2005 on Camel Records (

Set List

Usually 45 minutes on acoustic guitar with standard tuning, then another 45 minutes in alternate tunings.
Originals include: Nona Mae, Devotion, Dancing in Violet, Happy to Be Alive, Flying Solo...
Occasional covers include: Driver 8 (R.E.M), Voices Carry (Aimee Mann) and Angel From Montgomery (John Pryne).