b. 27 January 1947, Big Hill, Kentucky, USA. Playing guitar and banjo from early childhood, Isaacs was in bands led by Larry Sparks, Frank Wakefield and also played with the Stanley Brothers and the Greenbriar Boys. Although he was first known for playing traditional country music, especially bluegrass, following the 1970 death of his brother, Delmer Isaacs, he switched to a repertoire that was centred on gospel music. With his wife, Lily, Isaacs formed a band they named the Calvary Mountain Boys, which later became known as Sacred Bluegrass, the latter group appearing regularly on television in Ohio. From 1988, the band was known as the Isaacs and included the Isaacs’ three children, Ben, Becky and Sonya. Other band members have included John Bowman (Becky’s husband), Tim Surrett (Sonya’s husband), Adam Steffey and Rickie Simpkins. Included in the group’s repertoire were ‘I Found It All In The Blood’, ‘Is This Not The Land Of Beulah’, ‘From The Depths Of My Heart’, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, ‘Reaping In The Spirit’ and ‘Family Chain’.
In the mid-90s, Joe and Lily Isaacs were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 1998 Bridges won a Dove Award for Bluegrass Album Of The Year. At the end of the decade the Isaacs were divorced and Joe began a solo career that was stalled in 2003 when he underwent open-heart surgery.