The Better Halves is an Austin-based husband-wife duo who specialize in making listeners smile. They sing songs about the humorous side of life and of love, as well as story songs about everything from hot rods to internet dates to grandpa's yarns. Their performances are full of energy, fueled by Jimmy Joe's blazing guitar work and the funny banter that flows between them in word and in song. Serious, sweet moments find their way into every set as well, accentuated by moving classical style guitar and beautiful vocal harmonies.
Chrissie and Jimmy Joe met at the farmers market where Jimmy Joe books and plays music. She was looking for a gig for her other duo project, Avenue Elle. She realized she had found more than a gig as she and Jimmy Joe began jamming together. Now the two are married and are co-writing and performing together, traveling all over the country with their music and still appearing at the local farmers market when they are at home.
Jimmy Joe grew up on Long Island and started playing guitar at age 12 with influences as varied as Jimi Hendrix and Bach. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood. He played lead guitar in various projects, ranging from alternative rock to country music, and from LA to New York to Texas. He began writing his own songs in 1997, inspired by seeing Johnny Cash live in concert. One of his songs was played on NPR's Car Talk in 2007, and he received recognition as part of the Kerrville Regional Newfolk Ballad Tree Performers in 2006. He now uses his knowledge of a variety of musical styles to perform in weddings, theater productions, children's events and schools, rock bands, and of course, his main project, The Better Halves.
Chrissie grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania, achieving her bachelor's of science in biology from Penn State, where she started playing guitar as a hobby. Years later, the birth of her son inspired her to begin writing songs. She met fellow songwriter, Alison Lumley, while attending acupuncture school. The two teamed up in 2004 to form the beautiful musical duo, Avenue Elle, which continues to fulfill Chrissie's more jazzy/pop side.
Together, the Better Halves have been making large strides musically in just the past year. They played on Austin's FOX News in the Morning in July of 2011, after finishing a Texas tour including Fort Worth, Houston and Galveston. Jimmy Joe, performing with Chrissie, was a finalist at the Hallettsville Songwriter Serenade contest. Chrissie received recognition from the Austin Songwriters Group for one of her songs in 2010, and shortly thereafter the duo traveled from Louisiana to Florida to share their music. They have performed live on KPFT in Houston and KOOP in Austin. Now they have released their first full-length album together as they continue to tour, write, play, sing, and put smiles on the faces of their audiences.