Singer/songwriter Ann Austin is not an easy artist to categorize. Although the Massachusetts resident has recorded for Whaling City Sound (a small, jazz-oriented indie label based in New Bedford, MA) and is quite capable of singing straight-ahead, acoustic-oriented jazz, she is not a jazz purist by any stretch of the imagination. Some of her performances are relevant to vocal jazz, while others favor a jazz-influenced, bluesy approach to traditional pop, adult contemporary or quiet storm. Sometimes, she brings to mind the late Laura Nyro; other times, Austin draws on influences that range from Diane Schuur to Etta James to Bonnie Raitt. And if one had to summarize what Austin is about overall, it would be best to characterize her as a mixture of jazz, blues, pop and soul. However one categorizes her, the far-reaching Austin is a warm, expressive, soulful artist who has an impressive vocal range and always brings a great deal of blues feeling to her work. She is the type of vocalist who has no problem being sophisticated and gutsy at the same time.
Austin (whose repertoire has ranged from original material to Stevie Wonder and Sting) had been around the New England music scene for decades when, in the early 2000s, she was finally given a chance to record an album. One person who was instrumental in Austin having that opportunity was John Harrison III, a veteran acoustic pianist who isn't a huge name internationally but has his share of admirers in New England jazz circles. Harrison ended up playing a major role on Austin's debut album, Lost in Your Eyes; in addition to producing the CD and doing all of the piano playing, Harrison handled most of the arrangements and helped with the mixing. Austin, however, was listed as the executive producer of the album, which contains four of her own songs. Whaling City released Lost in Your Eyes in November 2004. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi