About Us...

Ten years ago, singer-songwriters Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts walked out of Mark Hallman’s  Congress House Studio in Austin, Texas with the five-song EP These Fine Moments, named after a line in one of their songs. The newly formed duo hit the “Live Music Capital of the World” club scene looking for gigs, and on the strength of the EP were able to procure some bookings around town.

At one of their first shows, they were mistakenly billed as These Fine Moments, but decided to keep that moniker since it was essentially a tongue-in-cheek reference to their less-than-sunny lyrical content.

These Fine Moments soon evolved into a trio and then into a full band, recording four full-length records with Hallman, who has a few gold records under his belt with Carole King and Ani DiFranco. They also put out an EP with Texas Songwriter’s Hall of Fame alumni Stephen Doster producing, with veteran drummer Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer, Robert Plant), and the late George Reiff on bass.

As they began to tour more frequently, they reverted back to a duo, booking their own shows and staying with friends and family around the country. They continued to develop their sound of tight harmonies accompanied by acoustic picking and a backdrop of tremolo guitars, which they call an honest blend of folk, pop, and depression.

In July of 2019, These Fine Moments released Stage Fright/Ok to Drive (also produced by Hallman), a two-sided single available on 7” vinyl and cd, and toured to support the record until the pandemic brought live performing to a halt. As bars and venues were shuttered it was time to refocus, and with a plethora of new songs they began recording and crafting what will be their 10th anniversary album, Season 10.  With Hallman once again at the helm and manning the rhythm section and multiple instruments, Hilary and Robert provide the vocals and guitars, with some help from Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, REM, Big Star) and Andre Moran (The Belle Sounds).

Season 10 is now available, and These Fine Moments are anxiously awaiting the time when they can get back out on the road and reconnect personally with friends and fans.

What They Said...

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Season 10
The Austin-based duo, Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts of These Fine Moments, is something of harmonic bliss... The duo’s ability to take an isolated experience and turn it into a moving piece of music, which can be applicable to an array of experiences, speaks to their prowess as songwriters. 
On their current single, “Beneath the Storm,” the first track off their upcoming album, their voices interweave with each other so smoothly it’s evident that this ease can only be achieved after years of working together.
In the same way, their songwriting seems to match their all-encompassing, sweeping style of music... Lyrically, their songs are like poetry set to music. 
   - Delia Rowland, American Songwriter

Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts have been together as the duo These Fine Moments for a decade. Their talent and experience shows on “Season 10,” as they’ve made a gem of an album. Straddling a line between folk and pop, the songs on “Season 10” are consistently pleasing and upbeat melodically. What gives “Season 10” more weight are the dark and sometimes even sad lyrics, which stand in stark contrast to the upbeat feel of nearly all of the songs. The music gives “Season 10” immediate appeal, but the lyrical substance will enable listeners to experience this album on a deeper level.

 

    - Alan Sculley, The Morning Call

Every now and then an album comes along that palpably captures the fragility of beauty and the longing for a spaciousness that can embrace our loneliness, our shared disillusionment, and our shared hopes and dreams. These Fine Moments, the duo of Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts, deliver their fifth album named to celebrate ten years since they first got together as a musical act. Their name is essentially a tongue-in-cheek reference to their less-than-sunny lyrical content. With zero pretention and 100 percent dedication the pair have built a loyal following with their no frills live shows and songs that speak to the heart of everyone. 

These Fine Moments’ SEASON 10 imbues our world with a crystalline beauty.

 

Producer Mark Hallman layers their tight harmonies, cascading guitar riffs, tinkling piano chords and swirling keyboards perfectly to create beautiful melodic spaces.

 

Their versatility is impressive and their willingness to experiment with tone and beat, they transcend the limitations of a folk-pop duo, creating a wonderfully complete album.

    - Alan Cackett, Americana, Roots, Country & Bluegrass Music

Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts seem to have mastered the art of storytelling, it brings to mind other good songwriters like Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, The Band, Eric Bibb, and Gordon Lightfoot. They make good use of imagery and metaphors to paint cinematic stories that appear before the listeners’ eyes, as the lyrics resonate with our passions, desires, bitter experiences, and happier times.

 

Two very poignant songs from the album Season 10 are “Allison Says,” and “Fairweather Friends.” The former is tragic, and the latter is more the story of someone taking action to rid themselves of the well, we cannot say it better than the title “Fairweather Friends.” “Allison Says,” is about a person who at a great cost to herself continually tries to please others and the emotional harm that it causes to Allison. Although, the song title has at its core a woman as the subject the gender can just as easily be flipped. The stark image of Allison standing in the middle of the street, alone, and then walking barefoot in the snow, asking, “Where the hell did everybody go,” paints a riveting picture of an individual abandoned by those she trusted.

 

“Fairweather Friends,” says Robert, “is (thematically) parallel to “Allison Says,” as people take her for granted. The person doesn’t have to be female, because it is about someone who constantly let’s people take advantage of them, and she can’t see what is really happening. It feels like she is being used.”

 

Although, the music was not intentionally dramatic, it adds to the somber mood of “Fairweather Friends.” The song uses the imagery of a shipwreck and a rescue that comes at a price, the judgment of others who toss you a lifeline, but only if you measure up to their standards and their standards alone. It is about the people who try to diminish your worth, by pointing everything they imagine to be wrong with you, to the point of being cruel.

    - Joe Montague, Riveting Riffs

Ten years ago producer Mark Hallman sent a new singer-songwriter duo out of his Congress House studio in Austin with a finished EP, their first recording. A decade on Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts as their nom de plume, These Fine Moments, have another record, this time full length and also produced by Hallman. In between they’ve performed as a duo, a trio, and a full band, with recordings to match. The one thing that hasn’t changed in that time is their style of music, what is maybe best referred to as anxiety folk.

 

Lyrically, these are not happy, sunny songs. Sensation Of Flying equates what can be a giddy feeling to its opposite, the sensation of falling. Allison Says reminds us of the friendship costs of addiction. Blind Spot wonders “what do you say to someone with a blind spot for the truth?” Fair Weather Friends delivers the stark assessment that “hate like a man, cry like a baby are your options my friend.”

 

Musically, the record is more upbeat. When Kaufmann and Watts seriously harmonize it’s apparent they’ve been doing this for those 10 years. On a number of songs they both sing lead, like on the CD-opening Beneath the Storm. Others showcase one of them, with the partner joining in for various pieces. Stage Fright is one of those, with Hilary revealing how she just knew that everyone could see through her. Robert takes the lead on Tear Down, Start Over that showcases some fine acoustic guitar picking.

 

Season 10 is a little bit of an oxymoron with its angst-ridden words couched in some soaring, melodic acoustic music. However that dissonance is so well balanced you can either ignore it and ride the musical waves, or you can dig in and wallow in it. And if you’re a Smith’s fan, I think These Fine Moments might be what they would have sounded like if they’d gone down the folk route.”

    - Shawn Underwood, Twangville

 
"Modern folkies tempered by modern times and life in Austin, they amp it up beyond granola music and move it into stuff you can feel.  They don’t stray far from their singer/songwriter roots and know how to pack some emotion into the bytes to give their stuff some real bite.  Right up the acoustic based alley."

 

      - Chris Spector, Midwest Record

 

"This fifth full-length album from Austin, Texas–based Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts garners its title from the fact that the duo have now been performing as These Fine Moments for 10 years. Produced by Austin studio wizard Mark Hallman, who also provides the rhythm section, the set features instrumental and vocal backup on two tracks by Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star). The music hearkens back to the best of 1960s folk/pop/rock with shimmering acoustic and tremolo guitar work and sublime vocal harmonies that may remind you at times of It’s a Beautiful Day, the 1960s San Francisco group."

   - Jeff Burger, Americana Highways

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The Safe Word

This new title ‘The Safe Word’ from the Texas-based duo Hilary Kaufmann and Robert Watts (These Fine Moments) will really feed and revive your soul. ‘The Safe Word’ is a soulful and emotional song that may make you cry. They have succeeded in choosing the perfect tones and the most catchy lyrics, and when you mix this with their distinctive and beautiful vocals, you will get this amazing song that you will get addicted to it for weeks like us now.

   - Yellow & Black Music

Wrought of acoustic guitar, piano, and a somber shroud of darkness. “Another lesson hard learned / Lay down while you created a diversion,” Kaufmann’s quivering vocal cords icy and heavy. The video navigates over-exposed reds and blues, pools both grainy and smooth, as their mental states reach full capacity and they contend with what they’ve done.

   - Jason Scott, B-Sides and Badlands

Break It, Bought It

 

Robert Watts and Hilary Kaufmann again team up with producer Mark Hallman for 10 tracks of immediately appealing pop music. Watts and Kaufmann are one of the better harmony vocal duos in town, and they benefit from the contributions of a few ace local players, including guitarists Andre Moran and Stephen Doster. All songs are their own save for “She Goes Out,” a standout Hallman composition.”

 

  - Peter Blackstock, Austin-American Statesman

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Patience

 

“One gets the sense that the deeper connection between the co-lead vocalists in These Fine Moments informs their songwriting, resulting in honest and emotionally open songs.”

 

  - Leks Maltby, Aside//Beside Blogspot

The songs shine without polishing the human element from the recording.”

 

  - Danny McCloskey, Alternate Root

“A cohesive storytelling project  start to finish,” says Greg Forest of Heart Beat of Texas Magazine. “Hilary and Robert have penned songs worthy of your ears.”

On the Radar...

2021

CBS Live From Home - Part of CBS Austin's weekly series, May 3, 9 a.m.

Houston Chronicle -  Part of the Houston Chronicle Concerts series. Broadcast live April 23. 

Sun Radio Live Broadcast - Part of the Texas Radio Live Music Series fro the Oak Garden Stage at Guero's in Austin, Texas. April 7, 7:00 pm Central

Austin Music TV - Premiere of Allison Says video, March 30.

Live Stream From One-2-One Bar - Will air the performance for our Record Release Show February 28th, 6:00 pm. Free show.

 

Fox 7 Good Day Austin - Catch our live performance on their morning show February 26th.

Over Easy Part 2 (KWVH 94.3) - Listen in for music and conversation February 23, 10:15 AM

Americana Highways - Will feature Beneath the Storm from our new record February 15th.

How did I Get Here? Podcast - With Johnny Goudie February 26th.

 

American Songwriter Premiere of Beneath the Storm video.

 

Over Easy Part 1 (KWVH 94.3) - Listen in for music and conversation January 13, 10:15 AM

 

The Singer and the Song (KOOP Radio FM 91.7) - We will be featured on Rush Evan's show. January 2nd, 3-4 pm.

2020

 

Austin Music TV - (Episode 1409) - Check out the premiere of the video for The Safe Word, 8pm January 12. 

Lone Star State of Mind (ACL Radio/KGSR FM 97.1) - Tune in July 7th to hear our radio debut of the new record, 10-11pm.

Austin Music TV - (Episode 1409) - Check out the premiere of the video for Ok to Drive, 8pm July 3. 

Over Easy (KWVH 94.3) - Listen in for music and conversation November 6, 8:30 AM

The Singer and the Song (KOOP Radio FM 91.7) - We will be Rush Evan's guests for an hour of live music and discussion. November 23, 3-4 pm.

The Appetizer Radio Show - Ok to Drive "New single from These Fine Moments captures the feels of relationships in a turning point. It's a must-hear indie tune!"

Discography...

2021 Season 10

Released on February 26th, available on 12" vinyl, compact disc, or digital download order here. Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman. Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Ken Stringfellow, Andre Moran and Mark Hallman.

2019 The Safe Word

Released on December 25th, download single only.  See the video here on the website. Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman. Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts and Mark Hallman.

 

2019 Stage Fright/Ok to Drive 

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman. Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts and Mark Hallman

2017 Break It, Bought it

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman.  Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Mark Hallman, Stephen Doster, Aaron Parks, David Breaux, Mike Rieman, Andre Moran, B. Sterling Archer, Tyler Mabry, Kevin Hayes, Don Bassey, Charles Bukowski.

2015 Patience

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman.  Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Mark Hallman, Dave Ducharme-Jones, Tyler Mabry, David Valley, Andre Moran, Ben Balmer.

2015 Texas Music Magazine Compilation

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman.  Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Mark Hallman, Dave Ducharme-Jones, Tyler Mabry, David Valley, Andre Moran, Ben Balmer.

2014 Sooner or Later

Produced by Stephen Doster.  Mixed by Stephen Doster and James Stephens. Mastered by Jim Wilson Mastering. Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Stephen Doster, Tyler Mabry, Dony Wynn, George Reiff.

2013 Bright Idea

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman.  Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Mark Hallman, Ben Balmer, Tyler Mabry, John Koehler, Andre Moran, Eddie Flores.

2011 These Fine Moments

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mark Hallman. Musicians: Hilary Kaufmann, Robert Watts, Mark Hallman, Gabe Rhodes, Andre Moran.

Film...

2016 Day Job (Director's Cut)

Featured the song Layin' Low from the album Patience.

2020 Shhh!

Featured the song Elephant in the Room from the album Break It, Bought It.

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