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Austin360 On The Record: Hardened and Tempered, William Harries Graham, more

Kristin Davidson, left, and Carolyn Phillips are the duo Hardened and Tempered.

Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists. 

OUT THIS WEEK

Hardened and Tempered, “Hold the Line.” When Kristin Davidson isn’t in court as an assistant federal public defender — she won a Supreme Court case in 2018 — she’s writing insightful folk-pop songs that she records with harmony singer Carolyn Phillips under the name Hardened and Tempered. “Hold the Line,” which follows the duo’s 2017 debut “The Trailer Sessions,” was produced by Austin ace Lloyd Maines, who also played guitar, bass, mandolin, dulcimer and more. Maines anchored a supporting cast that includes fiddler Dennis Ludiker of Asleep at the Wheel, horn player Mark Gonzales of Grupo Fantasma and drummer Pat Manske, who engineered, mixed and mastered the album at Dripping Springs studio the Zone. In press materials accompanying the album, Davidson and Phillips (who holds a doctorate in nursing) noted that the album’s nine songs “explore the transformative power of hope, the kind that seeds itself in and arises out of despair.” The pointed wisdom of Davidson’s lyrics is perhaps most apparent on “The Republican River,” which is named after a midwest waterway but serves as a metaphor for environmental and political upheaval across the decades, from the Dust Bowl era to contemporary times. Co-founders of the nonprofit Songs for the Soul, which they explain “uses storytelling through music to support the wellbeing of society’s professional caregivers,” Davidson and Phillips have focused their organization’s efforts during the coronavirus pandemic on connecting with healthcare workers who are on the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients. Here’s the opening track, “Counting the Cars”:

William Harries Graham, “St. Claire” EP. This six-song set from Graham, who’s been playing in Austin clubs since his early teens and is now in his early 20s, follows the lead of his 2019 full-length release “Jakes,” which found him taking a turn toward atmospheric explorations from the more rock-based work of his early band the Painted Redstarts. Recorded mostly at Austin studio the Bubble in late 2019, with mixing and overdubs done during the pandemic, “St. Claire” features contributions from percussionists Mike Meadows and Chris Searles, guitarists Johnny Goudie and David Goodrich, bassist Einar Pedersen and pianist Cameron Riggs. Grahams says these songs are “a lot about the concept of love and what it can mean. When I was writing this EP, I was grappling with a lot of questions about love of all kinds and the feelings that come from those questions.” Here’s the track “Fingerprints”:

Bryn Battani, “All I Have To Offer You Is Anything You Want” EP. A 20-year-old musician making her recorded debut with this four-song set, Battani has been away from her Austin home base for the last few years while attending school at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy and Minnesota’s Carleton College. She recorded this EP with fellow local singer-songwriters Curtis McMurtry and Diana Burgess co-producing. She mixes confident lead vocals with melodic piano-based arrangements on rhythmic pop songs that in some ways recall the early-’70s heyday of singer-songwriters such as Carole King and Carly Simon. Here’s the track “Neutral, Baby”:

COMING SOON

JAN. 22: Colby Falkner James, “You Will Always Change Your Mind”

JAN. 29: Erin Ivey, “Solace in the Wild”

JAN. 29: Anna Ford Larson, “Cocoon” visual EP

FEB. 5: Curtis McMurtry, “Toothless Messiah”

FEB. 5: Sun June, “Somewhere” (Run for Cover)

FEB. 5: Parker Woodland, “The World’s on Fire (and We Still Fall in Love”) EP

FEB. 12: Paul Leary, “Born Stupid” (Shimmy Disc/Joyful Noise)

FEB. 12: Cari Hutson, “Salvation & Soul Restoration” EP

FEB. 19: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Hunter & the Dog Star” (Thirty Tigers)

FEB. 26: Willie Nelson, "That's Life" (Legacy)

MARCH 24: Leti Garza, “Border Land” EP

APRIL 2: Zach Person, self-titled.

APRIL 9: Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon)