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2012-10-04

Music HoF fan favorites - Art & Lisa

By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier

The names Art & Lisa - no last names needed - are familiar to fans of great music from Bandera to Europe and back. Recognized this year as the Bandera Music History Project Hall of Fame 2012 Duo-Group, Lisa will take home a well-earned 2012 Songwriter award as well.

Whether singing covers of traditional country, classic rock, folk and gospel or one of their own original compositions, Art Crawford and Lisa Beck never fail to draw audiences closer through their heartfelt melodies and lyrics.

"Emotion is important," Beck stressed. "I need an emotional response and then I know I have a good song."

Passion and feeling are always evident in her music. "Learning To Breathe Again" is an anthem to anyone who's been through a breakup and is "out here on my own." "Mama's Prayers" - written for her own mother - celebrates the love and concern mothers have for their children.

"When Am I Gonna Learn," "Different Shade of Blue," "Safe In Your Arms" - each song speaks to everyone's basic needs and desires. Add haunting melodies to lyrics straight from her own life and loves to that of her audience and there isn't anyone who doesn't have a favorite Lisa Beck song.

Partner Crawford writes too - "Cleansing Rain," "Will You Stand By Me" and "Grit and Grace" to name a few. However, it is his vocal and performance skills on covers from Merle Haggard, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash and Grateful Dead to Art & Lisa originals that helped win the Duo-Group award.

Personal as well as professional partners, Art & Lisa have established a strong and loyal fan base throughout the Hill Country. Ramped up with a full band sound or their softer, gentler acoustic side, the duo plays house concerts, private parties and numerous venues from the Hill Country to tours of New Mexico, Colorado and Europe.

Beck's song about her hometown, "Sands of Lubbock, Texas," was selected for a Swedish CD of American country music. The duo's CDs, Learning to Breathe Again and Healin' Time - both largely comprised of their own original music, with a couple of Crawford's mentor Walt Wilkins' songs for good measure - are favorites of fans everywhere.

Crawford's deep bass baritone anchors and layers Beck's powerful vocals and together they sing a wide-ranging repertoire that always circles back to their gospel roots.

As a teenager in Oklahoma, Crawford and his sister sang in a gospel quartet and Beck grew up listening to her mother and aunts harmonize on gospel standards.

Beck's voice has been compared to that of Emmy Lou Harris by no less than Hall of Famer Larry Nolen.

Crawford has sung professionally from the National Park at Mt. Rushmore to Nashville. Fortunately for us, they both prefer their base here in Bandera.

Join Art & Lisa and their fellow winners at the eighth annual Bandera Music Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony, slated for 3 pm, Oct. 21, on the informal stage behind the Bandera County Public Library.

Pictured: Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Art & Lisa - Art Crawford and Lisa Beck