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.
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...
Glowing reviews in Detroit's
Free Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Richmond
Miami Herald, Performing Songwriter Magazine,
Folk Roots (UK), Il Voce (Italy), to name a few, range
tone from laudatory to reverential. Dave Goodrich of the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette named Peaceful Existence one of the five best releases
of the decade.
in 1995, Crayons,
her Flying Fish (now under Rounder Records) debut was released to even
more acclaim. Subsequently, her inimitable artistry has been featured
such publications as Sing Out!, Performing Songwriter Magazine,
Musician, the UK's Country Music People, Detour, the Kerrville
and the Netherlands' Country Gazette magazines.
1995 promo photo (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.
--Whistling Pig Music
P.O. Box 935, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 USA
Joan's own stories and photos of
her tours, go to: http://www.JoanBaez.com/
And in 2001 she returned with Gene to perform
on Kerrville's main stage opening night, May 24th, celebrating the
"Texas Songwriters"(live from Kerrville) CD, including her yet unreleased gem,
the lilting and beautiful, "Shores of Ireland."
In May, Betty once again graced the Memorial Day main stage at the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival.
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.
FYI--don't forget to read Amazon.com's customer reviews of this incredible CD.
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".
Betty's 4th album, "Crayons" is released to critical acclaim, on Flying Fish Records (Rounder Records).
And Nashville's own New Country magazine issues Compilation CD with Betty's "Roll On New River" featured!
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 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,
Austin Acoustic Music Festival--A World Inside."
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.
Volume II ~ and ~ Volume I
(photo: Bill Nash)
~ MORE! ~
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"...
- 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...
(Betty and Gene perform at the Kerrville New Folk Festival, 1988 - Kerrville/staff photo}
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