Minnesota singer/songwriter Bill Isles is backed by his wife, and songwriting collaborator, Kate, and Canadian master fiddler, April Verch, for this new collection of fourteen of his early songs, including the popular "Hobos in the Roundhouse". Ms. Verch tours several times a year as a guest band member with the Isleses and this is their third recording together, following 2009's duet CD "Matching Baggage" and Isles' 2006 solo recording "The Shores of My Hometown" "Early Risers", is a diverse collection of songs, mostly from his resurgence in songwriting from 1999 through 2003, but also contains one from 1972, "Cowbird", a haunting story of child abandonment, drug abuse and mental illness. (Note: Cowbirds are notorious among birds for destroying the eggs in other birds' nests and then leaving their own for the others to hatch and raise) The songs on the album range from the ambiguous and quirky "The Hole in Our Town" to the dark journey through fall and winter of "Through Her Window". Kate Isles and April Verch are equally up-to-the-task, delivering appropriate support. On "The Hole in Our Town", their contributions are fun-loving and perky, while on "Through Her Window" each provides a mysterious backdrop, Kate with a luring alto harmony and April with other-worldly violin solo breaks and fillers. This is a stark departure from her more well-known traditional styling. Her brilliant performance during the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies was a hybrid of these incarnations. The album opens with "Nerissa's Journey", a song the Isleses often use to open shows. It's a welcoming, inquisitive tune using a "chunky" flat-picking style, transitional chords like a Bflat 6/9 and asks "What brought you here today?" and later observes, "One thing about light, it's always new". The album closes with the comforting ballad "Till the Morning Comes Again", the first song Isles wrote after returning to music after a twenty five year break. He is also backed by Minnesota musicians, Gordy Johnson on Upright Bass, Ted Heinonen on Mandolin, Michelle Kinney on Cello, and Jerry Siptroth on percussion. Ireland's Stephen Matier (Different Drums of Ireland) provides additional percussion and three of Isles' granddaughters add an aching closing chorus for "Cowbird". Ben Bedford contributes harmonies on "Out of Nowhere" and his wife, Kari Bedford joins Kate for a stirring "voice of motherhood" in "Cowbird". The Isleses and Bedfords have also collaborated for live performances. The Isleses will be touring in the upper Midwest twice this summer with Ms. Verch and are looking ahead to 2011 for a more national route. On "Early Risers" Isles continues delivering self-production that is very live-sounding with clear vocals, minimal compression and all acoustic instruments.