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BettySoo and Doug Cox might seem an unlikely pair. One hails from the cadre of songwriters living in Austin, Texas, the other from the paradisiacal reaches of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The two musicians met while teaching at Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp, where they discovered a shared fondness for good songs.
Living 2,500 miles apart (a couple airplane flights plus a long ferry ride) and working in different musical worlds aren’t circumstances that make for convenient collaboration. But their friendship and musical respect were immediate, as they found countless familiar threads in the people and music they admired. Some songs they shared were penned by writers celebrated around the world, others were lesser-known, and still others were written by dear friends. BettySoo and Doug decided to create a show built around the stories and work of their mostly-unsung heroes.
Raised in Texas, BettySoo grew up hearing the names and music of certain Texas icons – characters like Doug Sahm, who lived on Vancouver Island for two years in the 1980’s after visiting his friend Doug Cox. It was during Sahm’s time on the Island that he penned “Louis Riel” and fashioned the idea of returning to Texas to form the Texas Tornados. Cox was road manager for the first tour leading to the formation of the now legendary band. Sahm’s “Louis Riel” was written about one of the most celebrated underdog folk heroes in Canada and leader of the Métis rebellion. “The touring and recording BettySoo and I plan to do is based on all the stories and songs we have each collected over years of being surrounded by great characters.” says Cox, “Lots of these songs are in danger of disappearing if they don’t keep being sung. Keeping these songs alive is what we intend to do with Across The Borderline.”
Another songwriting hero from Texas, Betty Elders is often considered the gold standard of female singer/songwriters. With songs recorded by Joan Baez and Lucinda Williams, it is strange her name is not as recognized as it should be. “‘Light in Your Window’ purrs like a classic;” says BettySoo, “it‘s a song that transcends generations and time periods, recalling countless stories of insecurity, jealousy, and heartache. It’s a demanding piece in terms of emotional delivery: the melody is so pretty, your first instinct is to just kind-of float it out, but that’s not what the lyrics demand. I love a song that pushes you to get inside the story.”
With two voices, a guitar and a Dobro, Across the Borderline gathers different places and sounds: low and high, north and south, hope and heartbreak.
Tix available online now