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Renee Austin plays BB's :: click images to enlarge
By Big Dave

Blind Pig Recording Artist Renee Austin recently graced BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups with her multi-octave vocal prowess. Renee spent a few minutes talking with STLBlues, and shared her story. Her meteoric rise to fame, and a recording contract with Blind Pig, began with her 1997 indie release of her debut CD, Dancin' With Mr. Blue, which was honored locally as Best Blues Recording by the Minnesota Music Academy (MMA). Her path of music began early, in Kingsland Texas, and hasn't ever stopped. "I realized at the age of 4, music is what I wanted to do". She credits early influences for her were Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner. "I also loved that Austin sound, Angela Strehli, Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton (who was impressed enough by Renee's ability that he hired her for the legendary Sandy Beaches Blues Cruise, a prestigous music event!) "Los Lobos sat in the front row of my show, for the entire evening". Small wonder, as she has a blazing sound, ranging from a sultry whisper all the way to a roar that rivals anything Joplin could deliver.

  -- More about Renee from Blind Pig --

Singer-songwriter Reneé Austin turned quite a few heads with her 2003 national debut on Blind Pig Records, Sweet Talk. Critics marveled at her nearly five-octave range, her stunning vocal dynamism, her poignant and insightful songwriting, and her remarkable versatility, comparing her to Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. Calling the CD "an impressive grab bag of original roots music," Blues Revue said, "Her stunning vocal range grabs the listener from first song to last…The auspicious Sweet Talk is a harbinger of great things to come for this talented and soulful vocalist." With her highly-anticipated follow-up release, Right About Love, Austin validates those early raves and predictions of greatness.

Austin offers razor-sharp reinterpretations of American roots music styles and brings them to life with an arsenal of vocal twists - husky and swaggering, breathy and vulnerable, angelic and clear-as-a-bell. A multi-instrumentalist and prolific songwriter, she's been honing her craft since early childhood, and has nurtured her singing voice to astounding, operatic heights.

Although Reneé could be most broadly categorized as a blues artist, her sound has been molded by an expanse of influences, and she credits that to her early environment. Born in San Diego, California, Reneé relocated to Texas by the time she was three. Growing up in the small town of Kingsland, Reneé immersed herself in Texas' spirited musical melting pot - one that has helped shape dozens of other seminal artists from the American Southwest. "In Texas, the older, more seasoned artists garner the most respect. So, I learned early on to respect styles by musicians of all ages, makes and models - there's a tremendous reverence for tradition," says Austin.

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