For local Americana sensation Sherry Austin and her new band Henhouse, it all started with an obsession with chickens. “I left my solo career when I realized that it felt so good to be playing with these fabulous musicians,” Austin says of her band mates, Tracy Parker, Patti Maxine and Sharon Allen. “I thought that this special great meeting had to be honored, and what better name could we come up with than one inspired by my muse: the chicken.”
The resulting collaboration combines some of the most talented female powerhouses in the Monterey Bay area, who stack dense high-and-lonesome harmonies over cogent, sentimental, and evocative lyrics. Though the quartet has only played together for about a year and a half, the band can not only pack venues with loyal fans—or, as Austin lovingly calls them, “Gray-haired Groupies”—but also are about to release a new EP, entitled Henhouse. “Our approach was to strip everything down to the bare essentials,” Austin divulges. “We did not want to overproduce anything, we wanted it to sound live, so we played everything live within the studio.” The pure, organic quality shines through on “Holding Hearts,” on which she croons: “This one lives in a box of pains/for her/that’s all it takes/she’s got a heart bigger than you can hold/she’s a friend of mine.” To celebrate their new EP, the band will host a CD release show on Friday, Sept. 14 at Don Quixote’s. “Expect songs from the new album, some fan favorites, and a lot of fun,” says Austin. “Opening will be Carol Shaver (Parker’s sister), an amazing songwriter who could be selling songs in Nashville. We are excited for her debut in Santa Cruz. And on top of that, there will be more surprises!”
INFO: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $15. 603-2294.