Jiminy Crisket brings a mix of fancy guitar playing, clever lyrics, vocal harmonies, entertaining on-stage banter, and humor to every performance. The husband and wife duo sings covers and original songs, often funny stories about everything from an internet date gone wrong, to devilish love songs, to wedding vows that will make you laugh and cry all at once. Their style will start with overtones of Chet Atkins and migrate to country licks reminiscent Johnny Cash and take a turn toward beautiful, classically inspired melodies. They love to play a variety of music and keep their audience engaged with interesting musical changes from song to song, funny stories, and just plain good instrumentation.
Jimmy Joe Natoli grew up on Long Island and started playing guitar at age 12 with influences such as Led Zeppelin, Arrowsmith, and Jimi Hendrix. He learned classical pieces as well and was performing in weddings as a teenager. In high-school, he was part of a rock/heavy metal band who played to crowds of up to 400 people. He also played guitar in his high school jazz band and joined the orchestra for school theater productions. Knowledge of a variety of styles definitely was a huge part of his performance skills, even at a young age
He went on to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, transferring to and receiving a degree from the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood after suffering through a cold winter in Boston. At both schools he excelled, being one of only a few students invited to take the Vocational Honors Test. He graduated with honors from GIT and went on to work in studios in LA. He composed music for audio stories for children through "Kamico," an educational book publishing company. He was also performing in his band, "What Gives!" at the time. This project was an artsy alternative rock band that recorded an album, "Happy Hour Food" in 1993. This album received local radio play in LA. After the unfortunate break-up of the band, Jimmy Joe made his way back to New York and eventually to Texas. In 1996 he played lead country guitar and toured the southwest with Chris Wallace and the CW Band. In 1997, he saw Johnny Cash and June Carter in concert, and this experience inspired him to begin writing his own songs. He took these songs to the local farmers market and has been a musical fixture there for 11 years, following the market from Westlake to Sunset Valley and recently to Barton Creek. In the meantime, he has collaborated on many projects and accompanied countless local musicians as a lead guitarist. Of note, he recorded a full length album with the Dash Kizer Experience, "Rise of the White Trash Superhero," as well as doing studio session work with local producer David Murray. His guitar is also featured on DB Martin's album, "Miracle Man."
Chrissie Natoli (nee Engle) spent her childhood writing poems and little ditties in the woods of Pennsylvania. Her journey as a guitarist began as an undergraduate at Penn State, learning folk and classic rock songs as a hobby. She began combining her written words with her musical knowledge about 5 years later, tackling a variety of themes and issues early on in her songwriting career. She met fellow singer-songwriter, Alison Lumley, in acupuncture school, and the pair began their first collaboration, which turned into a beautiful project called "Avenue Elle." The girls began playing around Austin in 2004 and have since played Austin venues such as Rutamaya, Flipnotics Coffeespace, the Alligator Grill, Cafe Caffeine, and "Music in the Air" series at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Their 2006 release, "hors d'oeuvres," has had tracks played on local radio stations KUT and KGSR and took them on a small tour of Colorado.
While promoting Avenue Elle, Chrissie met Jimmy Joe at the farmers market. The two began jamming together, eventually dating and then marrying in 2009. Their musical collaboration has led them to many house concerts, radio performances on KRFC in Fort Collins, Colorado and twice on KOOP in Austin. They have played for children's concerts, the Zilker Garden Festival, and the work week-end concert at the Threadgill stage at the Quiet Valley Ranch, home of the Kerrville Folk Festival. Their project, Jiminy Crisket, developed naturally over time, and this natural progression is evident in their performance together. They are at ease, comfortable, happy to be on stage together. They make the listener feel right at home, as if sitting in the living room with a drink in hand, listening to stories and sometimes laughing so hard it leads to crying, as if in the company of a close friend of many years. It is this accessibility, this familiarity, that sets Jiminy Crisket apart from many other artists. Jimmy Joe will blow the audience away with his fancy guitar skills, but what folks will walk away with is a feeling of having just met a new yet somehow old friend, and this feeling keeps them coming back time and time again.
We are changing our name to "The Better Halves" when we release our new album! Coming soon!!
You can pledge to buy an album to help us raise funds for printing costs at our Kickstarter page.. .