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In a town known for its songwriters, Austin, Texas-based Betty Elders ranks among the best. With her poetic lyrics set to heartfelt acoustic melodies, Elders has been turning heads for more than a decade. Her songs have been covered by Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Crow Johnson, Brand New Ways, Leslie Smith, Eric Taylor and Beth & April Stevens.
Elders was one of several singer/songwriters promoted by Joan Baez. In addition to having Baez record her tune "Crack in the Mirror" on her 1997 album Gone From Danger, Elders was invited to participate in a multi-artist revue that Baez hosted at the Bottom Line in New York, Toad's Place in New Haven, Connecticut and Ben & Jerry's Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition to being showcased as a soloist, Elders joined Baez for duet renditions of her songs "Crack in the Mirror" and "Long Bed from Kenya." A live recording of "Long Bed from Kenya," from Ben & Jerry's Folk Festival, was included as a bonus track on copies of Gone From Danger sold by Borders Books.
Elders showed musical promise from an early age. Beginning piano lessons at the age of four, she wrote her first songs within two years. Inspired by the poetry of Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg and Robert Louis Stevenson, she began writing poetry at the age of ten. Three years later one of her poems, "Snow," was read before faculty members of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Elders released a cassette of her songs, After the Curtain, on her own label, Whistling Pig, in 1981.
Moving to Austin with her parents in 1984, Elders continued to develop as a performer. Her first album-length effort, Daddy's Coal, released in 1989, attracted critical acclaim and received numerous awards — Best Independant Tape, Song of the Year (shared by two songs on the album), Best Female Songwriter and Best Female Vocalist — in Austin's Music City Texas Insiders Poll. Her second album, Peaceful Existence, was reviewed favorably in publications throughout the United States and as far away as Italy and the United Kingdom.
Elders released her first nationally distributed album, Crayons, in 1995.