Albert and Gage - At Anderson Fair


Kerry Dexter


Dirty Linen      June 2004

 Chris Gage and Christine Albert are masters of the art of the live show:  At one moment they shake up their folk-based listeners with the bluesy-rock humor of “Should’ve Been Me,” and at another they draw the rockers into the passionate duet “How Can I.”  Then they draw both together with exuberance on the gospel-flavored “Bells of Joy.”


This time the Texas-based duo brings everybody along to a concert recorded at Houston’s Anderson Fair, a venue probably best known to folk and county listeners as the site for Nanci Griffith’s One Fair Summer’s Evening .  As they trade lead vocals and harmonies on the 16 songs offered here, Albert plays guitar, Gage tears up keyboards and switches to guitar and accordion, and Brad Fordham keeps rock-solid and powerful rhythm on bass in cooperation with Paul Pearcy’s inventive work on percussion.  Albert’s slightly twangy, slightly nasal voice moves from brass or soul and back again, while Gage’s confident tenor takes off on the bluesy numbers and turns storyteller on the more folk-based songs.


The pair purposely chose more covers than they’d normally have on a recording in order to include audience favorites such as Lieber and Stoller’s “Black Denim Trousers,” Charlie Rich’s “Who Will the Next Fool Be,” and Chrissie Hynde’s “Thumbelina.”  Albert, who is of French-descent, added several songs in that language, including Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.”  Albert’s original “Full Moon Night,” which kicks off the show, is another noteworthy track, as is the couple’s take on Gram Parson’s “Return of the Grievous Angel” and a song that’s become a bit of a trademark for the two, Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s “Dallas.”  The energy, humor, really fine duet singing, strong leads, original harmonies, strong sense of partnership, personality, and musicality that come across in this set make it a cut above many live projects and a fine step beyond their studio recordings.


Kerry Dexter (Tallahassee, Fl)

Dirty Linen

#112, June/July ‘04