Singer/songwriter SHELLEY LAINE loves to meet a challenge and nowhere is her strong-willed, independent spirit more evident than in the picking up, moving on and doing better' refrain of That Girl Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the first single off her latest CD release, Back to Austin. In fact, the message at the core of the entire project is one of individualism and personal strength, not surprisingly, reflections of Shelley's personal philosophy.

Laine's belief in setting goals and, more importantly, achieving them has led her to a series of outright successes: being named a qualifier in the trials for the Olympic women's soccer team, scaling the world's most formidable mountains and running her own consulting business, developing employee-training programs for Bank One and other financial institutions. The latest brass ring firmly within her grasp is that of country music star.

Laine cites a wide variety of musical influences, from Linda Ronstadt, Carole King and Karen Carpenter, to The Judds, Bonnie Raitt and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Shelley began songwriting at 16 and went on to perform at fairs and charity events. Behind the scenes, she put together a home-brewed CD which, as luck would have it, made its way to veteran promotions/marketing executive Ed Spacek (The Dixie Chicks, Tanya Tucker, LeAnn Rimes, Willie Nelson). Spacek was so impressed that he approached producer/engineer Eric Paul (Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Wylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver) about working with Shelley and the two teamed to produce her debut CD, Skipping Stones, for the newly-launched Austin-based Palo Duro Records. The CD showcased Shelley effortlessly transitioning between country, gospel, blues and rock and roll and introduced an extraordinary new talent to the world of country music.

On Back to Austin Shelley again teams with producers Ed Spacek and Eric Paul. Her vocals are seamlessly complimented by a stellar group of musicians: pedal steel player Lloyd Maines, father of The Dixie Chick's Natalie Maines; drummer Dony Wynn, who recently toured with Brooks & Dunn and worked with Robert Palmer for 15 years; fiddle player Jason Roberts of Asleep At The Wheel; bassist Roscoe Beck; Edwin McCain's Larry Chaney on lead and acoustic guitar and keyboardist Riley Osborne.

"Back To Austin is a wonderful collection of compelling songs with an overall theme of rising above and meeting the challenge," says Shelley. "I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented studio musicians in the business while recording in a world-class studio. It's been an amazing--and fun--project and I think that that comes through in the final product."

With a three and a half octave range and the ability to conquer even classical and operatic pieces, Laine revels in exploring a wide range of musical genres. But Back to Austin, on which she wrote two of the eleven songs, is a showcase of her country roots.

"I think every song on Back To Austin is outstanding, but three songs in particular absolutely blow me away," says Laine. That Girl Doesn't Live Here Anymore seems to be telling a story from my personal diary, so how could I not love it? Is That Love Or What grabbed me from the first time I heard it and Feed A Promise has clever lyrics with a funky combination of blues and country."

"I love this project and my hope is that listeners will identify with the songs," says Shelley. "You know you've accomplished that when people are singing along with you during shows. That connection is what music is all about and, as an artist, striking the universal chord that brings so many people together is truly a blessing."

Below are a few bullet points that will help you get to know Shelley Laine.