Austin & Elliott (Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin)
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Austin & Elliott (Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin)

Montague, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF | AFM

Montague, MA | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2004
Duo Folk Americana

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
16
Austin & Elliott (Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin) @ Soule Homestead Education Center

Middleborough, MA

Middleborough, MA

Sep
08
Austin & Elliott (Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin) @ The Montague Bookmill

Montague, MA

Montague, MA

Aug
07
Austin & Elliott (Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin) @ Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center

Greenfield, MA

Greenfield, MA

Music

Press


"Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin are a musical duo who are injecting new, irreverent elements into the established folk and singer-songwriter playing field via their smart and modern lyrical sensibilities. Meanwhile, their musical end hinges upon vocal melodies and harmonies, while the duo trades off licks on Chris’ guitar and Lisa’s bass, banjo and guitar, bringing their fun original take on folk to Boston’s coffee houses, clubs and concert halls. Their shows are guaranteed to be a memorable experience." - CBS Boston


"Dark and, at times, irreverent, Cradle And Crow, the latest project from Austin & Elliott challenges the listener with a modern approach through the dark heart of classic country and Appalachian ballads. A fascinating adventure!" - Joltin Joe Pszonek, Host of Radio Nowhere - NEWT Radio, Newton , NJ


"If you have ever seen Lisa Austin and Chris Elliott in concert, you know that their shows are lively affairs. The Montague duo plays harmony-laced folk songs that have a tendency to be on the dark side. Which, to me, is all for the better. Austin sings and plays hand drum, while Elliott also sings and plays acoustic guitar... (Click link to keep reading) - The Recorder


"There are no lush strings or complicated arrangements on offer here. These are songwriters with a love of words expressing emotions - personal or otherwise - to the pure accompaniment of guitar.

"When I Go" is a case in point. It has a spare accompaniment, but even that could be superfluous when the listener gives attention to the harmony of these voices and the strong lyrics. The magic continues on tracks like "O Death," with its haunting theme and delivery. It could be a rendition of a song written centuries ago. The guitar takes off at a stronger pace on "Caroline," an old-style story-song that is well worth a close listen.

Tracks with titles like "Still Water," "Truth That Hurts" and "Started with a Needle" give you an idea of the beautiful, laidback style of this wonderful duo, but show how to tackle all sorts of subjects with quiet determination and thoughtful lyrics. This is a fine collection of original material well written and thoughtfully performed. - Rambles.net


"Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter duo hits all the right chords with beautifully crafted tales of introspection and woe. Nicely harmonized vocals, reminiscent of Aimee Mann, compliment immaculately produced instrumentals. Featuring accomplished local musicians such as Duke Levine, these five songs come fully realized and are sure to please." - Northeast Performer


Lisa Austin and Chris Elliott couldn't be more suited for one another musically and their new 5-song sampler quantifies that statement. Both possess excellent singing voices and when they're combined, there's few duos that can touch them. On Truth That Hurts, Austin and Elliott have also made a bold move to enlist producer Lorne Entress to oversee the production while hiring guitarist Duke Levine and bassist Paul Kochanski to beef up the instrumentation. The result is an engaging five songs lush with musicality and poetic prose. The song "Liza Jane" could easily be nominated as "Song of the Year" at the next Boston Music Awards show with its superb lyrics and mesmerizing musical accompaniment. - Metronome Magazine


"Not too long after packing 21 songs onto their first CD, 13 Songs Plus, it is no wonder that Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin cover four of those on this five-song EP. Why do it? For one thing, the previous CD, while hardly lo-fi, was very basic—two voices and guitar. From a folk standpoint it worked beautifully, but Chris Elliott's songwriting occasionally broke out of the folk mold, keying more on pop hooks and melody. The duo must have wondered what they could do with those more mainstream tunes. When producer Lorne Entress showed interest, the opportunity to record in a band setting was too good to pass up. Entress gathered Austin and Elliott plus himself, bassist Paul Kochanski and guitarist Duke Levine and headed into Thomas Eaton Recording and Busterland Recording to lay down a handful of tracks, thus Truth That Hurts.

That the title track was chosen as EP title is no surprise. There is something very fifties in the writing—the light shuffling 6/8 rhythm and the updated and less R&B Mickey & Sylvia approach, maybe—which is very pleasant to the ear. And while the bare-bones version is nice, this one, enhanced by both the percussion and production, is taken well out of the folk and into the pop genre.

The new arrangement of "Too Tired" borrows from mid-sixties Brit rockers, having a Gerry & the Pacemakers twelve string hook which is unmistakable. The solid beat drives everything to its logical conclusion. And the end? It's straight out of early Liverpool.

A step toward Americana follows, "Liza Jane" adding mandola and a bit of dobro to the mix. It works, but the real magic here is the song itself. A strange view of some sort of unrequited love (which the man accepts wholly), it sings of a family-not-a-family while the melody and tempo belie the dysfunction which must surely exist. I mean, it's a tragic head-nodder, if that makes sense.

The total surprise here is the one track not borrowed from 13 Songs Plus—"What a Woman Knows". Call it folk with attitude or acoustic metal, it has a Black Sabbath "Iron Man" chord progression beneath Lisa Austin's spot-on vocals. Austin and Elliott unplugged? Maybe. But it sure grows on you.

Everyone has a song which reflects him- or herself and "Hard Not To Fall In Love" is a classic example. A beautiful ballad, one cannot listen to it without thinking that Austin and Elliott are singing it from the heart and for each other, even though that may be far from the truth. Such is the magic of music, though, and this one plucks heart- as well as guitar strings.

Like 13 Songs Plus, Truth That Hurts shows great promise. It shows that Austin & Elliott are no one-genre musicians. It shows heart. It shows progress. One of the things some people love most about music is watching musicians morph into better musicians on an ongoing basis. This could be the beginning of a long ride. It will be fun watching (and listening). - Fame


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Based in Western Massachusetts, Austin & Elliott is comprised of singer/songwriters Chris Elliott and Lisa Austin. Combining folk and rock influences, their dark but catchy original songs combine bracing harmonies, thought-provoking lyrics, and driving acoustic guitar work.

After years of performing on their own as solo artists, they began collaborating in 2003 with Lisa adding harmony vocals to Chris’s songs. Since then, they’ve deepened their musical partnership, incorporating new instrumentation such as hand drum and banjitar and honing their twin vocal attack.

Their latest recording, Cradle and Crow, was recorded at home in the wilds in western Mass, and features 13 original songs about love gone wrong and death gone right. Their previous record, the 5-cut Truth That Hurts, is their first full-band effort, produced by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, Mark Erelli) and featuring guitarist Duke Levine (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jonatha Brooke, Ellis Paul) and bassist Paul Kochanski (Resophonics). Their debut CD 13 Songs Plus is packed with 21 songs performed in stark, powerful fashion.

Stuff about Chris

Born and raised in Binghamton, NY and currently residing in Montague, MA, Christopher Thomas Elliott likes to rhyme, sing, and play guitar as a solo performer and as half of dark folk duo Austin & Elliott.  Since moving to Boston in 1994 to escape food service jobs and go to grad school, has become a fixture of the underground acoustic scene in New England. He starting writing funny songs in his teens, and when he got a beat-up Ovation guitar while at Bard College, the satirical edge of his writing sharpened. Going on to an MFA from Emerson College, he has developed writing style that ranges from darkly serious to deadly funny.  His hand-made acoustic guitar is by luthier Alan Carruth, its powerful tone accommodating his soft fingerpicking and hard strumming style. According to Club Passim's Matt Smith, "his songs run the gamut from bitingly ironic to honestly beautiful." Or in the words of Marilyn Ray Beyer of 91.9FM WUMB: "Laugh now, think later... A poet in a songwriter suit." He was a finalist in the Rose Garden Songwriting Competition--twice.  Check out his solo CD "Satellite, UFO, Jet Plane, or Star.” In addition to his songster activities, as Christopher Thomas Elliott he has self-published a mock heroic epic poem, Ferding and the Fly, Book I: A Ballad of Garbage and Picnics, which recounts the saga of a young boy’s crusade to swat a fly and the fly’s quest to conquer a picnic. 

Stuff about Lisa

A native of Western Massachusetts, Lisa Austin began playing live in earnest after moving to Boulder, Colorado in 1998. With a voice that recalls Natalie Merchant, she was a Lillith Fair semi-finalist for an opening spot at the 1999 Colorado Lillith Fair, and since then she has played and sung in many venues throughout Boulder and Massachusetts. While Chris takes a more cerebral approach to music making, Lisa is the more intuitive, creating original harmony lines by ear and unearthing the emotional core of songs. In addition to singing, she plays guitar, 6-string banjo, bass and percussion. Her songwriting is dark and traditional-folk inspired, filled with rural imagery, reflecting her love of and reverence for the natural world. She often sings from unique points of view, such as a fisherman drowning at sea or a westward journeying pioneer who discovers his family dead on Christmas Day.  In addition to music-making, Lisa is involved with animal rights and spay/neuter advocacy.

Lisa and Chris love to travel around New England performing. From coffeehouses to night clubs, venues played include: in the greater Boston area, First Night Boston, Club Passim, the Nameless Coffeehouse, the Burren, the Cantab, Java Joe's, TT the Bear's Place, Johnny D's, Perk's Coffeehouse, and more. Further west, First Night Northampton, the Luthier's Co-op, the Iron Horse, the Center for Arts in Natick, Amazing Things Arts Center (Framingham), the Dove Cafe and Capo's (Lowell), the Pioneer Arts Center (Westford), the Java Hut (Worcester), the Stagecoach Inn (Groton), Studio Session Live for HCAM TV (Hopkinton), the Sit 'n' Bull (Maynard), Mocha Maya's (Shelburne Falls), Club Helsinki (Great Barrington), and more. Around the Northeast: Tupelo Music Hall (Londonderry, NH), Vanilla Bean Cafe (Pomfret, CT), Langdon St. Cafe (Montpelier, VT), Postcrypt Cafe (New York City), the New Jersey Folk Fetival, and more. We've opened for Rod McDonald and Cindy Bullens, and Chris (solo) for Grey Eye Glances, Ratsy, and Gideon Freudmann. Live on the radio: WUMB 91.9FM (UMASS Boston), WMUA 91.1FM (UMASS Amherst), WMFO 91.5FM (Tufts University), WUML 91.5FM (Lowell, MA), WMPG 90.9FM (Portland, ME), WSCA 106.1FM (Portsmouth, NH), among others.

Band Members