While the Celtic tradition lies at the heart of Isla (pronounced "Isle-ah"), the diverse musical influences of the band's four members expand the idiom's boundaries. The players share an eclectic appreciation for the primal vitality found in a variety of musical styles. The result is a seamless weave of past and present; where old tales, regardless of changing time and place, still ring familiar.

Deborah Packard | Peter Cairney | John Mock | Bill Verdier

Deborah Packard has had a longstanding affinity for the vocal arts; her family is laced with singers, musicians and readers of drama and poetry. Her earliest memories include a great-aunt teaching her the Scottish border ballad "Raggle Taggle Gypsies" on an island in Maine, and her grandfather supplying a steady entertainment of folksongs in English and Quebecois French. Fascinated by various elements of storytelling, she has performed both as a singer and as a dramatic reader.

Deborah's fondness for Celtic music led her to work in Nashville with Scottish guitarist Peter Cairney, and the couple became the founding duo of Isla. Within a matter of months, John Mock and Bill Verdier joined them, and Isla as a band was born. Whether in duo or band context, Isla offers Deborah's voice in a setting akin to her love of words and melody.

In addition to Isla, she has worked as a session vocalist for different artists, including award winning Nashville songwriter Marcus Hummon and Scottish singer and songwriter Mae McKenna. Along with such other performers as Riders in the Sky, John Cowan, David Olney, Andrea Zonn and Butch Baldassari, Deborah has been featured on two of the CD musical collections from the "Little House" books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, released on the "Pa's Fiddle" label.

Scottish guitarist Peter Cairney's professional career began in 1971 with Contraband, a folk-rock group recording on Transatlantic Records. Contraband consisted of Cairney, founding members of Ossian, and Mae McKenna, a top U.K. session singer and solo performer. Peter would later tour with Mae over an eight year period throughout Europe, the U.K. and Japan. He can be heard on her "Night Fallers" album, as well as additional projects she produced for Virgin Japan, and on her most recent album "Shore to Shore".

In addition, Peter's guitar work has been featured on such albums as John O'Kane's "Solid Ground", Scottish composer William Jackson's "The Wellpark Suite", harmonica legend Charlie McCoy's "A Celtic Bridge", and on several recordings of both traditional and contemporary Celtic music on the Green Hills label. He toured over several years with the Scottish Orchestra of New Music, performing "The Wellpark Suite" and other pieces; and has appeared with The Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Montpelier Chamber Orchestra as a guest musician.

Throughout numerous tours and recording projects with British Country, Pop and Soul acts, Peter has held true to his Folk roots. His rich musical background has resulted in a unique style, fully evidenced in Isla.

Multi-instrumentalist John Mock has been active as a performer, composer and arranger in the Nashville music scene since moving there in the late 1980's. His work as a touring musician has taken him around the world with such noteworthy acts as the Dixie Chicks (2000-2004), Maura O'Connell (1990-present), and Kathy Mattea (1987-1989). As an orchestral arranger, he has been enlisted by all three, as well as Dolly Parton, Mark O'Conner, Sylvia, Nanci Griffith, Cherish the Ladies and many others; his arrrangenents have been performed by orchestras throughout America and abroad (among them, the National, Atlanta, Nashville and London Symphonies). John has worked as recording session musician for James Taylor, Tim O'Brien, the aforementioned, and others too numerous to list. He has appeared as featured composer and artist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Ireland, the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the Nexus Chamber Orchestra; and regularly travels the country performing original solo works.

John's interest in traditional Celtic music resulted early on in his participation in Isla, for which he plays whistle, mandolin, bodhran, and concertina; and he is delighted at the reunion of the foursome.

Bill Verdier has been performing Irish music on the fiddle for over 20 years. Originally from Philadelphia, Bill began with classical violin studies, focusing on orchestral, chamber and solo performance through college. He first made a switch to American styles after hearing the David Bromberg Band, and later to Irish Music upon hearing a concert by Kevin Burke.

Having spent many years in New York and New England working for an Irish recording label and hosting a weekly radio program, Bill moved to Nashville and quickly became active in the recording industry and performance of Irish music. He met Isla's other three players not long after moving there, completing the band's lineup soon afterward.

Bill has performed and/or recorded with such diverse artists as Tim O'Brien, Maura O'Connell, Russ Barenberg, Phil Keaggy, Buddy Greene, Bryan Sutton, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Michael W. Smith, Jim Prendergast, Ric Blair, Michael Card, Claudia Nygaard, Mae McKenna and William Jackson. Bill enjoyed a brief film cameo playing an Irish jig in Disney's "Hannah Montana:the Movie", shot in Tennessee in 2008.

Currently, Bill co-hosts a weekly Irish session and performs with The Nashville Ceili Band, Nosey Flynn, The Skip Cleavinger Band and Jeff Taylor. He is working on a solo album, due for release in late 2013.

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