BETHESDA — Performing at Round House Theatre, the same theater where they first met during a production of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” folk duo Alice and Isaac celebrated the release of their debut album, “What I Was Thinking,” a series of upbeat love songs.
The guitar-mandolin duo, whose real names are Katie Kleiger and Brandon McCoy, met two years ago but did not play music together until this past December. The delay resulted from Kleiger’s moving to New York City after the “Miss Bennet” production. Kleiger and McCoy reconnected after she moved back to the area, and the duo started playing together between showings of the play “The Book of Will” at Round House Theatre. The name “Alice and Isaac” comes from the names of the characters they performed in the play.
“We were playing just for ourselves (in the Green Room), and every now and then someone would sit down and listen,” said Kleiger. “But I mainly felt we were in the way, taking up this shared space.”
McCoy and Kleiger are actors by trade, and their musical-theater background showed through with polished two-part-harmony vocals. The concert is part of Round House’s move to become a more-diverse arts space, according to McCoy.
“One of the things they’ve talked about after renovations is becoming a multi-arts space. So, whenever there’s not a show going on there are musical acts, comedy acts, so the show is being used seven days a week,” said McCoy.
McCoy, a former standup comedian, and Kleiger endeared the audience with witty banter between songs. The music itself was a great mix of up-tempo songs and slow ballads. The duo has a great sense for melodic hooks, perfect for crowd interaction and sing-alongs.
The song “Welcome” displayed what the duo does best. The heartfelt lyrics – a tribute to McCoy’s 13-month-old daughter – paired perfectly with the mid-tempo ballad. Kleiger performed the first kazoo solo in Round House Theatre history, adding a great sense of fun to the song.
McCoy and Klieger followed up “Welcome” with another highlight “Usain Bolt.” The clever, light-hearted lyrics, such as, “If I was Usain Bolt I’d win every race,” paired with well-executed vocal harmonies, created an energetic fun track.
“It’s our biggest goal to play as many venues as we can and eventually do a little tiny tour and then work on our next album,” Klieger said.
Alice and Isaac’s first album, “What Was I Thinking,” is available on Bandcamp.
“We’re thinking that with each album that we do, that there will be some sort of theme around it,” said McCoy. “With this first album, it’s centered around the idea of folk music being these sweet, simple love songs.”