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  • Featured Artist

Hello, Again!

We are thrilled to return to the Austin Acoustical Café! We opened for Susan Gibson on February 8, 2020, not knowing it would be our last Austin show before COVID shut the whole world down and turned our lives inside out.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we poured ourselves into Songs for the Soul, the nonprofit we co-founded in 2016. The mission of Songs for the Soul is to support the well being of society’s professional caregivers through storytelling and music, and the typical program meets in-person for six weeks. Because COVID made the typical impossible, we adapted, launching a

Soul-a-Gram program, which paid songwriters to send songs of strength, support, love, and gratitude to frontline healthcare workers and their teams.

Songs for the Soul next collaborated with the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. We interviewed graduating nursing students, who expressed fears about starting their nursing careers during the pandemic, and their faculty, who offered words of encouragement and wisdom. We wrote the song, “Who Else But You,” with hope that it could foster connection and provide some closure for a last semester cut short. We were honored that the song was used by the School of Nursing in its commencement ceremonies for 2020 and 2021 and received a university-wide Excellence in Communications award.

The creative energies launched us into the studio, collaborating again with Lloyd Maines to produce our second album, Hold the Line, which we released in January 2021. The album debuted at No. 3 Album and No. 5 Artist on the FAI Folk DJ Chart, received international acclaim from radio and print outlets, and made top lists for 2021.

But then what? The focus and discipline we summoned in 2020 and carried through the first half of 2021 began to wane, the pandemic fatigue set in, and it felt impossible to plan anything. Every COVID wave brought a new kind of waiting and a harsher kind of stress. There were glimmers of

good times—we were mainstage performers at the National Women’s Music Festival in Wisconsin in July 2022. And we relished the gigs here and there when we felt safe enough to perform. But we began to fear what the new normal might become. Then, just on the cusp of returning to the Austin Acoustical Café in February 2023, the ice storm hit. We readied ourselves by candlelight, but we soon learned that the Café had also lost heat.

It is with a special excitement, then, that we return to the Austin Acoustical Café stage on September 9! We are thrilled that our dear friend, Emily Shirley (with Katie Lessley!), will open the show. Emily has worked with Songs for the Soul, and we so admire her art. This will be a night full of storied lyrics and harmonies, including some special arrangements with the four of us. We an’t wait to say, “hello, again!”

We will have CDs of Hold the Line (2021) and The Trailer Sessions (2017) available for sale, as well as a lot of enthusiasm for real, live human connection.

- - Hardened & Tempered

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