Helen Austin
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Helen Austin

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"Helen Austin"

WOW...Helen Austin is an incredible artist whose album, TREEHOUSE, is proof that this young lady can sing her behind off. Helen takes a less is more approach to the music on this project keeping it simple by using her acoustic guitar and her voice as the foundation of every song.

"Just Thirteen" is a fun and honest song about that awkward phase in life that every girl experiences when she's "not grown up, just in between." In the song, Helen states that "Naiveté was good to you and me..." summing up how being oblivious to the realities of life can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. For most 13 year olds, ignorance is bliss and this song is the perfect example of that. Great songwriting and singing.

Other great songs by Helen include: Everybody, Treehouse, You and I, and Wonderful Day. Every track on this project represents the awesomeness that is Helen Austin the artist, musician and songwriter.

Overall, TREEHOUSE is a great project that offers 13 incredible songs by one of the most talented singer-songwriters I've heard since first hearing the wonderful work of Alanis Morisette. I am officially a fan of you, Ms. Helen Austin! - I Am Entertainment Music Magazine


"Featured Indie Acoustic Artist"

There is a much sought after trait in a musical artist; the ability to transport the listener's emotions to another world. In this regard, Helen is a magician. When she sings, "I can make you smile without even trying" on her album Treehouse, she isn't lying—her musical emotions are purely contagious. When she is happy, you are happy. When she is sad, you are sad. Lucky for us, Helen Austin is usually very happy.

Like the very best acoustic performers, less is more for Helen. Without the bells and whistles, Helen's full personality is let out to shine as bright as a sunny spring day. The opening song on Treehouse, "Everybody," shares a life philosophy in simple affectionate terms that wrap around the listener's heart like a warm hug. The closer, "Wonderful Day," is the theme song you've always wished was playing whenever you go out for a stroll.

With a sweet bobbing voice and lyrical playing, Helen's sound fits right in with the likes of Kimya Dawson and the plethora of bands starring Kimya Dawson, but without the sense of ironic detachment. Helen's words and notes are real in the way the best moments in life are real, and she is sincere in every phrase without losing one precious moment of quirkiness.

A mother of two, Helen Austin is able to look at the world in child-like wonderment, but also has the maturity to reflect on and articulate that wonderment. Her songs, like her album's namesake song "Treehouse," where she suggests to herself, "I gotta get out of my head," are reminders that there is a world out there to explore.

Helen is not all rainbows, though, or at least, she knows that oftentimes rainbows have to follow dark clouds and heavy rain. The songs "Don't Ask Again" and "Something to Cry About" delve into the darker side of the emotional spectrum, and in "It Takes a Lifetime," we travel with Helen into true tragedy. Whatever the feeling, Helen helps us feel it. - Indie Music Reviewer magazine


"Album Review"

It is not often that you find an album with so many songs that you are able to connect to, but Song of the Week 2 is that rare find. The combination of Helen Austin’s vocal range and her obvious aptitude for writing songs places her above most other female singer/songwriters in the alternative and folk genres. Austin’s soft, serene voice and the way many of her songs center around the subject of love, gives her a style similar to those of Ingrid Michaelson or Missy Higgins.

Song of the Week 2 opens with “I Love It All,” a cute ditty about all of the imperfections of a lover. Austin explains, “You need your coffee high before you can open your eyes . . . your socks don’t match, and you can’t even find a pair . . . but I love it all.” “La De Dah” is a feel-good song in every sense of the word. Austin sings about the simplicities of day-to-day life, saying that life is not only about the good times, but it is also is about the bad times. “La de dah, la de dah, here we go” perfectly explains the laid back, trouble-free feeling that this song creates.

One thing that makes Austin’s songs so loveable is that everyone is able to relate to them in some way. In “It’s Me,” for instance, Austin sings, “I look you up online, and I pretend you’re mine. I add you to my friends, then wait and see. I’d call you every day, but you’ve got call display, and you’ll know it’s me . . . Give me a sign. Tell me I have a chance with you.” Whether we’d like to admit it or not, this is something we have all done, or at least thought about, at some point or another, which is what makes this song so humorous.

Song of the Week 2 contains a healthy mix of humorous songs along with more serious, emotional songs such as “Almost,” one of the few piano compositions of the album. “Almost” is a song about a woman who is going through the process of marriage in the hopes that it will make her happy. Austin’s descriptive lyrics allow the listener to visualize every detail of the process. “They got married on a Tuesday. Wednesday night they just went home. By the time it was the weekend, she knew she’d never be alone.”

Austin digs deep into the roots of love, and gets to the truth of the matter instead of using overused, clichéd lyrics to prove her points. In “Bandaid,” Austin uses simple objects to explain her role in her lover’s life. She sings, “I’m a Bandaid, I’ll stick anywhere that you need . . . I’m a vitamin, I make you feel so strong . . . I’m a Vicodin, you can never get enough . . . I’ll take care of you.”

While each song averages out to be only about three minutes long, the shorter song length is made up for by the amount of songs on the album – there are 17 songs in all. As an artist who has produced all of her music on her own, Austin could fool anyone into thinking that Song of the Week 2 was produced by a top notch record label. Austin is certainly not going anywhere soon, and with a great repertoire such as this, it’s hard to predict anything but great things for her future.

Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5) - Review You


"Album Review"

Friendly, accessible, and utterly charming, Helen Austin has the eclectic, irresistible goofiness of Kate Nash, and at many times in her new album “Song of the Week,” she proves that she can be much better. Filled with clever hooks, witty phrases, and beautiful vocals, “Song of the Week” is a powerful experiment in tasteful, minimalist alternative folk and will be sure to please new fans and old alike.

“Ordinary Girl” starts the album off with a catchy, friendly introduction to Helen’s clever witticisms. Helen sings about a simple love with beauty. Talk a little longer so I can stay to hear/talk a little quieter so I’ve got to get real near. There are some clever lines in this song. Get a little closer so I can feel your breathe/get a little nearer but don’t quite kiss me yet. The melody is wonderful, and there’s a little Cranberries feel mingled in with Helen’s quirky, original songwriting. “Happy” is a wonderful, short track about loving somebody so much that every detail of their life delights you.

“All The Letters” is a showstopper of a folk track, with Helen whispering the alphabet and a sentiment for each letter. You can easily see this on the next Juno-style independent movie that goes big. There’s a wonderful whistling track in the middle of the song.

Helen goes a little serious with “Stuck to You,” a song about letting go and loving someone anyways. I’m not waiting to see/I know there are things you need to be/things that don’t include me. This is easily one of the best tracks of the album, with a tender sweetness and a bittersweet songwriting style that is almost heartbreaking. The listener will definitely identify with every word in this song. It’s absolutely breathtaking how Helen is able to take the simplest of concepts and weave poetry and clever metaphors into the most basic of truths, slipping through the cracks and reaching a place deep inside a person. Once again, her songwriting takes center stage and blows away everything else.

The album flows so smoothly that every track seems to melt seamlessly into the other, creating just enough diversity to keep the listener’s attention while keeping with Helen’s soft-spoken sound. There are several tracks that the listener will want to listen to again and again. “When We Were Young” has Helen singing wistfully about the jubilant, naive certainty of youth. “I Can’t Cry,” is another heartbreaking ballad about missing somebody close to you. A cute, affectionate take on an energetic lover, “High Maintenance,” has some wonderful background vocals, and could easily be written into a Broadway play.

A wonderful acoustic guitar picking track compliments a dual vocal in “Nearly Dry,” a wake up song that’s cheerful and full of heart. It’s a song about getting over bad things that happen, loving through sadness, and believing that there’s going to be another day. Aren’t you glad you opened up your eyes? Take a look, they’re nearly dry.

While all of these are amazing songs, Helen saves the best for last. The last four songs are incredibly well-produced and will make the listener glad that they stayed until the end. “Three’s Company” is a fantastic, catchy Beach Boys song. “Toeing the Line” is a song about not rocking the boat in a relationship and being scared of finding something new. “So Stay” is a request for a lover to stay in the midst of a difficult time. There are some great lines in this song. I have to do this marathon/so why can’t we belong.

The album finishes off with a song reminiscent of old Death Cab for Cutie. Background vocals sway and swoop through a simple story of love and loss. Melancholy, heartbreaking, and another showstopper, this is the best track of the album.

There aren’t enough words to describe the simplicity, purity, and charm of Helen Austin’s latest album. It’s just absolutely beautiful. Her personality shines through and creates a portrait of a sweet, deep songwriter, writing songs about things she loves, pain she’s experienced, and beauty in the midst of it all. Frankly, there isn’t a listener who won’t love this album.

Review by Bobby Jo Valentine
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
- Review You


"One of the more entertaining performances I've been to in years."

"Admittedly I'm a fan of the performers I was going to see, I'm familiar with their music and have seen them perform individually. I was anticipating a concert that was, well... going to be special. The evening so eclipsed "special", I can honestly say it was one of the more entertaining performances I've been to in years.

Sue Pyper, Helen Austin and Judy Brunet are on this night "Voices Three". Each of these ladies is a talented musician and songwriter in their own right. Now together and backed by Bruce Wing on acoustic guitar and bass, Brad Hawks on percussion and Trent Freeman on fiddle and mandolin, it was like an evening at "Hogwarts" (lots of magic).

They started the evening with the song "One Voice" written by Ruth Moody of the Wailin' Jenny's. It's in that song where they got the name for the Voices Three concert. From that moment on, they had the almost capacity crowd of the Sid Williams Theatre in the palm of their hands. As an ensemble this group was tight and tasty. Trading off on leading songs and harmonies, each guiding the audience through contemplation, laughter and tears. The banter between songs was amusing and kept the attentive crowd laughing and applauding.

There were many highlights in this evening, from Judy's "Contessa" Monologue to a taste of Helen's risqué musical stand-up and Sue's dedicating the show and her song "Before You Learn to Fly" to the recently passed Wilma Blanchard. Wilma was a volunteer of the Comox Valley Hospice Society to which proceeds of this "Voices Three" concert are benefiting.

This was indeed an incredible evening and I hope for the sake of others that these gifted women will decide to perform this show again" - Brian Hazelbower - CHLY Nanaimo REVIEW


"Comox Valley Record"

".....the multi-talented talented Helen Austin......her lovely, engaging songs have made her many new fans." - None


"Comox Valley Echo"

“Helen is back with her beautiful voice and fine songwriting” - None


"Comox Valley Record"

Helen Austin has performed extensively here and in Europe as a stand-up comic and a very compelling singer songwriter. She is currently based in the Comox valley and will be performing her very distinctive original music. - None


Discography

2012 - "Always Be A Unicorn" LP

2011 - "Song of the Week 2" LP

2011 - "Treehouse" LP

2010 - 'Song of the Week' LP

2009 - "Home' LP compliation - 'No Plans'

2009 - "Perfect Girl" EP

2009 - "One Eye On The Door" LP

2007 - "Things You can't Undo" LP

2005 - "Music For Hope" EP - Relay For Life

2004 - "Cumberland Christmas Album' LP compliation- 'Wishing'

2001 - "Release Candidate One" LP with Smithers

1999 - "Today" LP

Photos

Bio

John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner 2012
Female Songwriter and Artist of the Year - Vancouver Island Music Awards 2011

Helen Austin is a prolific singer/songwriter from the UK now living on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

She is no stranger to the stage and has worked as a professional performer for over 20 years. After her previous life as an award winning stand-up comedian, she brings her quirky humour to her musical performances, as well as the ability to tug at your heart strings with her more serious songs.

With her self-produced music videos getting over a million viewers online, she has been earning accolades and acquiring fans from around the world. Her music is now getting regularly licensed in Network TV shows such as '90210', 'One Tree Hill' and 'Ghost Whisperer', along with many MTV shows and ads, including a European Nivea ad campaign.

"From hearing her material, I would want to see her live, buy a shirt and become part of her base community. She doesn't need a record label, she just needs to keep building what she's building and they will come..... "

Helen has written music and lyrics for specific occasions such as her song "Relay", written to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event, which is now played at Relay events all over the world. She also donated a song for the Helping Hearts website, an organization that helps families with sick children.

"Helen's words and notes are real in the way the best moments in life are real, and she is sincere in every phrase without losing one precious moment of quirkiness." - Indie Music Reviewer Magazine

From April 2009 Helen wrote, produced and uploaded a new song each week onto her website as a free download. Thirteen of those songs are on her album, 'Song of the Week' which was nominated for 5 Vancouver Island Music Awards of which she won two. She was also a top 10 international finalist for the Mountain Stage Newsong competition, has been nominated for several Hollywood Music Media Award and was a John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner.

"Helen has a beautiful distinct voice and that will always open doors for her all on its own. She reminds me a bit of a female Elliott Smith or Paul Simon"

Helen has several self produced album releases and has a new kid's album out this year. She has also just finished working on a new album with renowned producer, Bleu in LA, which will be out in 2013.

"Every track on this project represents the awesomeness that is Helen Austin the
artist, musician and songwriter." - I Am Entertainment Magazine