“Your prayers will be heard, the moment you start believing”, Gaëtan Vandewoude from Leuven can be heard singing prophetically on the self-titled debut album of Isbells. And guess what? That’s exactly what happened to him. In his native Belgium he had been trying his luck in various bands for fifteen odd years. He was a drummer with bluesrock combo Ellroy and a guitarist with emocore outfit Soon. But with his thirtieth birthday steadily approaching, Vandewoude felt the urge to go for something a little closer to his heart. He impulsively quit his day job and retreated to the countryside. He installed a studio in a decrepit stable next near his house and spent most of his nights experimenting there, eventually recording his songs one by one. The result of this labour of love is a series of wistful, introspective numbers inspired by his relatively isolated surroundings and the small events marking his daily life. Sometimes Vandewoude writes about relationship frictions or being confronted with his own shortcomings, and other times about his daydreams or the kind of world his four year old daughter will grow up in. His songs tend to be personal observations, yet they are never preachy. “We all go through unpleasant experiences in our lives”, the artist explains. “But there’s always hope. To me it’s important to keep following your dream and stay positive, no matter what.” The folky little gems that made their way to Isbells’ album were all centered aroun...

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