Review: Sherrié Austin – Circus Girl (Circus Girl, 2011)
It’s been more than eight years since Australia-to-Nashville transplant Sherrié Austin released her last solo album. She’s been busy in the interim starring in Broadway musicals (including Bonnie & Clyde and Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show) and writing songs for Blake Shelton (“Startin’ Fires”), George Strait (“Where Have I Been All My Life”) and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill (“Shotgun Riders”). She also spent time rethinking the writing she did for herself, and began penning songs expressly aimed at her like-aged forty-something female fans. Many of her songs (several of which were recorded previously by other artists) address unrequited desire, both humorously, with the romantic incompatibility of “I Didn’t” and datelessness of “If I Was a Man,” and introspectively in the search for self of “Tryin’ to Be Me.” There’s romantic discord, both in-process and fully digested into spiteful recrimination, but it’s Austin’s ability to dramatize every day details and wrap them in modern-pop flavored country that will appeal to “Friday Night Girls.” She fits into a growing group of female country songwriters, including Matraca Berg and Suzy Bogguss, whose post-radio careers are proving a fertile perch from which to write songs for their peers, rather than for Music Row.