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CHRISTINE ALBERT - PARIS, TEXAFRANCE
Austin Chronicle -
by Margaret Moser May
Texas Platters - Girlie Action
Here's Eliza Gilkyson and Christine Albert, two May goddesses with a
taste of summer's ripe bounty to come. At the Austin Music Awards in
2006, Gilkyson stood before a packed house with an armful of awards and
declared that she was proudest of winning Best Folk Act. So when she
announces, "I am just a troubadour, a tried and true believer," on
"Clever Disguise," she's reminding us of precisely that. Which isn't to
suggest that the Mark Hallman-produced Beautiful World (Red House) is a
folk album. It's not. More stylistically adventurous than the divine
local songstress has been since hitting her stride with 1997's
Redemption Road, her latest is still innately political in all the right
ways ("Great Correction," "Runaway Train") but unexpected in the jazzy
"Unsustainable." Yet it's Gilkyson the folkie who's Queen Midas, "Rare
Bird," "The Party's Over," and "Wildewood Spring" tenderly evoking local
names like Mambo John Treanor, all gleam with the golden touch.
Paris, Texafrance (MoonHouse) is Christine Albert's
third recording in her utterly charming series of French songs recorded
in Texas, accompanied by husband/partner Chris Gage whose production
polishes this little gem. Albert's French heritage and Texas heart lend
a rootsy feel to the covers that include those of popular French
composer Charles Trenet ("Swing Troubadour," "Ya de la Joie"). There's
plenty of Edith Piaf for fans of the Little Sparrow with "Chante-Moi,"
"Hymne à l'Amour," and "Don't Cry," but Albert avoids tribute territory
with unexpected entries like Jesse Winchester's "L'air de la Louisiane"
and "Un Prince en Avignon," inspired by a Walter Hyatt recording of the
French traditional. Gage's choice in using spare instrumentation –
sometimes only a piano – with Albert's lovely voice enhances Paris,
Texafrance's warm summery feel. Many stars all around.