her musical career begins at age four....    photo:CHPJr.

Gracefully honoring the influences of traditional, folk, rock, jazz, and country music, Betty Elders' music is richly varied and often surprising. It is a marvel of poetic beauty, a testament to human frailty and grandeur, a meditation on the harrowing wonder of existence. The narratives and moods of her songs are as varied as the colors of life they reflect; her supple voice traverses this vast emotional range with ease and clarity, embodying both great power and an aching vulnerability. Her mastery of diverse forms, combined with an innate sense of space and movement, create a visual music that is timeless and beyond category, able to engender a deep resonance and empathy in the hearts of all who listen.

betty elders' bio page

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Betty began studying piano at age four, and creating her own compositions, following those hymn forms which originally inspired her..."Rock of Ages, cleft for me..." From her childhood she brought a love of poetry and music to her own style of songwriting - - a form which is at once personal, and yet, universal - - her pen gliding effortlessly between urban and rural inspirations. In the early '80's, she moved to Austin, Texas, with her family, and continued to hone her craft, focusing on guitar as her primary compositional and performance tool, continuing to draw inspiration from friends and fellow songwriters Jimmy LaFave, Lucinda Williams, David Rodriguez, Denice Franke, Michael Fracasso, Iain Matthews, Eric Taylor...

daddy's coal photo -- 1988
Betty has released four albums, beginning in 1981 with After the Curtain, and establishing an independent record label, simultaneously - Whistling Pig Records. Her second album, Daddy's Coal, also issued on Whistling Pig Records in 1989, earned multiple year-end awards from Austin's Music City Texas' Insiders' Poll: Best Independent Tape, Song of the Year (shared by two of her songs), Best Female Songwriter and Best Female Vocalist. In 1993, her third release on Whistling Pig Records, Peaceful Existence, resulted in another flurry of local awards, and also, extraordinarily, attracted an unprecedented amount of international acclaim for an "unknown."

Glowing reviews in Detroit's Metro-Times, the Detroit Free Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Miami Herald, Performing Songwriter Magazine, Dirty Linen, Folk Roots (UK), Il Voce (Italy), to name a few, range in tone from laudatory to reverential. Dave Goodrich of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named Peaceful Existence one of the five best releases of the decade.

Later, in 1995, Crayons, her Flying Fish (now under Rounder Records) debut was released to even more acclaim. Subsequently, her inimitable artistry has been featured in such publications as Sing Out!, Performing Songwriter Magazine, Acoustic Musician, the UK's Country Music People, Detour, the Kerrville Kronikle, and the Netherlands' Country Gazette magazines.

Betty and the NBC Allstar Band in Roanoke, Virginia -- 1979
(L-R: Jeff Larocco, Al Coffey, Steve Wade, Jimmy Bush, Betty, Ed Dennis)
the NBC Allstar Band -- promo photo 1979

1995 promo photo (by Gene) 

betty promo 1995 by gene

In 1997, legendary folk artist Joan Baez recorded Betty's evocative song, Crack in the Mirror (from Peaceful Existence) on her album, Gone From Danger, and invited Betty to tour the northeast with her in celebration of its release. Betty appeared with Joan as her guest at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival, on Mountain Stage, at The Bottom Line (NYC), and Toad's Place (New Haven), accompanied by fellow artists Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Sinead Lohan, and Mark Addison (of the Borrowers). Together, Betty and Joan performed "Crack in the Mirror" and "Long Bed from Kenya" in concert to such overwhelming response that their Newport Folk Festival performance of "Kenya" was included as a bonus track on all Borders Books' double-CD editions of Gone from Danger. 

Due to the success of that tour, plans were made to cross the Atlantic for the European release of Gone from Danger. During an incredible whirlwind ten-country, two-month, twenty-seven date tour, Betty and Joan once again performed "Crack in the Mirror" and "Long Bed from Kenya" together, to the delight of repeatedly sold-out audiences. Joining them for this memorable journey were Gene Elders on violin, and inimitable songwriter, Richard Shindell.

Betty Elders is an artist whose grace and uncompromising style continue to transcend the whims of an oft-changing industry. Her music creates an undeniable, unforgettable exchange between her and all who listen.  Her powerful voice and incisive, deeply moving lyrics render each performance refreshingly memorable. No longer one of Texas' best-kept secrets; word of her gifts has now spread globally.

Thanks for stopping by and listening!

--Whistling Pig Music

P.O. Box 935, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 USA

at Mountain Stage in 97 by Gene
Joan and Betty sing "Crack in the Mirror"
on NPR's
"Mountain Stage"
photo by Dar's dad
Betty and Joan perform "Long Bed From Kenya" at
the 1997 Newpor
t Folk Festival

Royal Concert Hall, London

For more of our stories from the road, go to our own
Extensive European Tour '97 pages

For Joan's own stories and photos of her tours, go to: http://www.JoanBaez.com/

* Betty's Recording NEWS *


You Ask Me About Truth

Longtime Norwegian friend, songwriter, musician and arranger Roy Londhoiden releases his brilliantly understated, sonically impeccable masterpiece of artistic achievement, "Du Spør Meg Om Sannhet" ("You Ask Me About Truth"). This breathtaking work, featuring a master's class ensemble of Austin's finest musicians--Mitch Watkins, Paul Glasse, Joel Guzman, Brian Standefer, Terry Hale, Glenn Fukunaga, Pat Mansk--was deftly produced (orchestrated and directed) by none other than Austin's own Gene Elders! This CD even features two of my own original songs, "The Pilgrim" (from my 1989 CD, "Daddy's Coal) and a new song, "Only He", co-written by me with Roy, gently closes the album. Each individual song on 
"Du Spør Meg Om Sannhet" surely stands upon its own merits, a rare trait indeed, but the overall effect is one of overwhelming aural and lyrical beauty.

Roy's own evocative photography is featured on the front cover of the "DSMOS". One of Gene's photos taken nearby is used on the back of the jewel box. And quite unexpectedly, one of my own photos of Roy taken while rushing to dinner near Pedernales State Park, made the centerfold of his new CD booklet--two whole pages' worth, thanks to the innate gifts of Norwegian graphic artist and musician, Bjørn Kulseth.

Throughout, photo mementos of the recording sessions (Gene's own chord charts) float behind song lyrics, credits, graphics and additional photos. Unequivocally, we are all so proud to have been part of this incredible project, Roy! Now you must surely release an English version!

Not to be overlooked, Norsk musical companions and great steel guitarist Tore Blestrud, and songbird/musician Elin Moen Rusten, contribute their own innate musical beauty to Roy's new release, as well.
-- Betty

We love you, Betty Soo!!!
Betty sings harmony vocals on "All God's Children" (yes, we are!) with longtime friend Diana Jones on her 2009 critcally-acclaimed european release, "Better Times Will Come"

Better Times Will Come

"Better Times Will Come"


Roy Lonhoiden CD

Betty sings harmony on longtime friend Roy Lonhoiden's second
Norwegian Grammy-nominated album,
"Nar Dagen Demrer Blatt".


October 2006. Once again, Betty is honored to report that legendary Norwegian
 "Hillbilly King", Roy Lonhoiden, has included one of her (at writing, not yet recorded by herself)
new songs, "Farewell", on his newest, Norwegian grammy-nominated (Spellemannprisen),
Norskamerikaner release, "Sanger fra skogen".

Sanger fra skogen 2006

On this most recent and beautiful compilation of Roy's albums,
Betty's "Farewell" easily shares aural space with covers from Townes van Zandt ("Snowin' on Raton"),
and Rodney Crowell (  "Til I Gain Control Again").


Icehouse Music in Austin, TX, releases a compilation of 10 up-and-coming
Texas singers performing other Texas artists' creations--"Ten in Texas"--
among which you can find Texas singer-songwriter favorite and cowgirl herself,
Terri Hendrix, singing Betty's, "Cowboy"!

Icehouse Music "Ten in Texas"


Norwegian folk artist and friend, Roy Lonhoiden, releases his
incredible new CD, "Det ensomme landet" ("The Lonesome Country")
to rave reviews from European, Scandinavian press. 

"Det ensomme landet" CD -- Roy Lonhoiden

"Det ensomme landet"
includes Betty's yet unreleased jewel,
"Safe Within Your Love," (
"Vis Meg Veien"),
as well as her own liner notes.

Our congratulations to Norway's own true Hillbilly King!

Spring, 2004

Betty's poetry and songs are featured in Austin's wonderful new poetry (and the arts) magazine from Dalton Publishing,

The Creative Pulse!

March issue --copyright Deltina Hay


And... Betty at last has the pleasure of recording TWO duets with
erudite Austin pop-country artist and friend, Eric Blakely, on his 5th album,
"Still Life at Full Speed."

Erick Blakely CD--"Still Life At Full Speed"

Eric and Betty listen to a playback of Eric's song,
"Since I Found You"....

photo by Burton Winn

Nashville Songstress Janne Henshaw releases her second album,
naming it "Drifter's Prayer" -- a wonderful collection of original acoustic songs and covers,
including (the title song) Betty's 
"A Drifter's Prayer" (from her "Daddy's Coal" CD)
and "Light in Your Window" (from Peaceful Existence)
, and produced by legendary artist Jeff White.

"Drifter's Prayer" CD -- Janne Henshaw

Janne's earlier release, "Tell Me" -- her first album of lovely acoustic songs,
including Betty's own "Bed of Roses/ Bed of Thorns" (Daddy's Coal).

Janne Henshaw "Tell Me" CD cover


And in 2001 she returned with Gene to perform on Kerrville's main stage opening night, May 24th, celebrating the release of
"Texas Songwriters"(live from Kerrville) CD, including her yet unreleased gem,
the lilting and beautiful, "Shores of Ireland."

Kerrville Folk Festival 2001

In May, Betty once again graced the Memorial Day main stage at the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival. 


In March, Betty toured with the "Kerrville Women of Folk",
promoting her inclusion on both 
the 1999 Women of Kerrville CD,
and the "Texas Songwriters' CD", made available at the Spring '99   Kerrville Folk Festival,

which included Betty's performances of "Long Bed From Kenya"
and the as yet unreleased gem, "Shores of Ireland. "

Women of folk - volume 2

The Kulseth Bothers Band (with Roy Loinhoiden), from Norway,
recorded Betty's "A Drifter's Prayer/EnVandrer's Bønn"

on their new NorskAmerikaner release,

my friend Roy Loinhoiden and his band!!
(Click CD cover to visit their website!)

Betty was also once again honored in 1998 to be included on the faculty of the prestigious
26th Annual Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting School in Kerrville,
judging the 1998 New Folk Songwriting Competition


In September of 1997, legendary folk icon Joan Baez included her own version of  
Betty's "Crack in the Mirror" on her landmark "Gone From Danger" CD. 
Included on a limited-relase double-CD version of GFD was Betty's and Joan's 
LIVE version of "Long Bed From Kenya" from the 1997 Newport Folk Festival. 

Joan Baez "Gone From Danger" CD 1997

FYI--don't forget to read Amazon.com's customer reviews of this incredible CD.


Rounder Recording artists Beth and April  Stevens record "Bed of Roses"
 their delightful debut release, "Sisters."

Beth & April Stevens' CD - "Sisters"

And in 1996, Betty's 1995 performance in the largest and fastest growing 

media festival in the world--Austin's own SXSW Music and Media Fest--

Betty was a featured artist for six consecutive years, and is included in the 10th Anniversary, 

SXSW women's compilation, "SXSW 'LIVE' Vol. 4".

SXSW Women Compilation

Auditorium Shores - Austin TX - July 1995


Betty's 4th album, "Crayons" is released to critical acclaim, on Flying Fish Records (Rounder Records).

Crayons - Flying Fish Records - 1995

And Nashville's own New Country magazine issues Compilation CD with Betty's "Roll On New River" featured!

New Country magazine CD

After multiple appearances on KUT 90.5's  prestigious "Live Set" (Public Radio in Austin), 

her pre-Crayons performance of "Friend of Mine" was included in that year's NPR fund drive CD,

"Live Set - Volume 3" compilation.

Lucinda's World

Lucinda Williams' and Betty's co-write "He Never Got Enough Love" was released 
on Lucy's grammy-nominated "Sweet Old World" album, and not long aftre, Nashville's own, 
the Cactus Brothers Band also released it on their "24 Hrs., 7 Days a Week " CD.


A rare live version of Betty's enigmatic apocalyptic gem, "The Quiet" (Peaceful Existence),

can be found on Chocolate Records' earliest release,

 "The Austin Acoustic Music Festival--A World Inside."  1994.
A World Inside - Chocolate Records

Betty's incisive song "Crack in the Mirror" (from Peaceful Existence) was also included on the 1998
"Manuel's (Austin, TX)  Women's Festival compilation CD-Volume II",
benfitting the Austin Rape Crisis Center.

In 1997, "Edge of the Universe" (also Peaceful Existence) was included on Volume I.

Manuel's CD - VOL. 2   Manuel's CD - VOL 1
Volume II  ~  and  ~  Volume I


Peaceful Existence CD cover

Betty's self-produced, groundbreaking masterpiece,"Peaceful Existence",
is released to
international critical acclaim!


Daddy's Coal CD cover

 "Daddy's Coal" CD -
her self-produced, self-published gem garners "Best  Songwriter, Best Female Instrumentalist,
Best New Album
" awards from Austin's own (1990) "Music City Texas" magazine!

Betty performs "Reunion" at The Richardson TX Wildflower Festival

(photo: Bill Nash)

Betty at the Wildflower Festival in '99

~ MORE! ~

"Crack in the Mirror" featured in MTV's VH-1' - "Where Are They Now?" 
documentary on  the life of Joan Baez" - August 1999

- Interview in "New Texas Magazine" (Joan Baez article)- March 1999

...and Music Hound's  "FOLK, the Essntial Music Guide"...

Music Hound Folk

- Find her, too, (+ vintage photo!) in Rod Kennedy's  '96 complete Kerrville Folk Festival History "Music From the Heart," 

the definitive Kerrville Folk Festival anthology...

Rod Kennedy's book

...singing Drifter's Prayer in 89

(Betty and Gene perform at the Kerrville New Folk Festival, 1988 - Kerrville/staff photo}

You can find her songs on multiple Kerrville Folk Festival Compilation CDs here!

Her own:
After The Curtain (1981)
Daddy's Coal (1989)
Peaceful Existence (1993)
Crayons (1995)

Some wonderful artist's albums you can find Betty's
harmonies and/or her songs on:

Christine Albert Underneath The Lone Star Sky
Glen Alyn Texas Heat 95 Degrees (OBIT)
Joan Baez Gone From Danger
Joan Baez Limited Edition - Double CD - Gone From Danger

Eric Blakely  Still Life at Full Speed
Cactus Brothers  He Never Got Enough Love
Sarah Elizabeth Campbell  Running With You
Brian Cutean Parakeetfishhead
Brenda Freed Until Daylight
Steven Fromholz A Guest in Your Heart
Janne Henshaw  Tell Me
Janne Henshaw  Drifter's Prayer
Crow Johnson  Painting Stories 'Cross The Sky
Diana Jones  Better Times Will Come
Emily Kaitz  Household Word
Kulseth Brothers & Roy Lonhoiden- Almenning - "A Drifter's Prayer"
Michael Landschoot  Heart Of The Dragon
Roy Lonhoiden - Du Spør Meg Om Sannhet - "The Pilgrim", "Only He"
Roy Lonhoiden Nar Dagen Demrer Blatt
Roy Lonhoiden Sanger fra Skogen - "Farewell"
Roy Lonhoiden Det ensomme landet - "Safe Within Your Love"
Don McCalister  Brand New Ways
Mary Melena  Something Passing Through
Sarah Pierce  No Place Like Home
Mary Reynolds  Patience
Mary Reynolds  Patience
Nancy Scott  Heartprints In Clay
Leslie Smith  These Things Wrapped
Betty Soo & Doug Cox Light in Your Window

Eric Taylor  Eric Taylor
'Ten in Texas" - Kerrville Folk Festival Compilation
Walt Wilkins Bull Creek Souvenir
Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World

Betty Produced, or Co-produced:

Man Against Beast David Rodriguez
Recuérdate Por Mi  Lourdes Perez
Heartprints In Clay Nancy Scott 

For MORE great artists like those above, go NOW to:


...Words to her songs.listen to her songs.order CDs.calendar.email