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Spreading the Word

Six "New' acts for people who appreciate good music

By Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 16, 2002

Spreading the Word
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

Elizabeth McQueen & the Firebrands

Can a band that plays tunes from the songbooks of Elvis Costello, George Jones, Banana Blender Surprise, and Robbie Fulks call themselves country? Singer-songwriter Elizabeth McQueen thinks so. Since she's also one of them folks that moved to Austin without a job and without really knowing anybody, being bold may simply be second nature to her.

McQueen hit town from Takoma Park, Md., where she'd grown tired of life in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She claims the Austin chamber of commerce "sends out radio waves" to get aspiring musicians to come here. Not long after moving to Austin, in September 2000, the bespectacled 25-year-old met guitarist Andrew Nafziger, who had just started working with Karen Poston. With his assistance, they put together the Firebrands.

"The thing about Austin that's really great," she says, "is that it's a community of musicians that actually care about what they're doing. They're happy to be playing and want to help other people play."

With her regular gig at the Carousel Lounge on Fridays, and occasional appearances at Ego's, McQueen has attracted notice from drummer Dave Sanger (Asleep at the Wheel, Dale Watson, Jimmy LaFave), and guitarist Chris Miller (Wayne Hancock, the Hollisters), who occasionally sit in with the band. McQueen's potent, attractive singing style allows her to perform a wide range of songs and still keep it country.

"I just want to be adding something to the mix," she states.

If McQueen and her Firebrands follow through on their considerable promise, she most certainly will.

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