Albert and Gage - Burnin' Moonlight

Michael Corcoran

Austin American Statesman     July 12, 2001   star.jpg (767 bytes)star.jpg (767 bytes)star.jpg (767 bytes)

The soul of Austin shines through in this batch of local CD releases by Michael Corcoran

     Is there an Austin sound?  Not really. But there is an Austin soul, as evidenced by these new album releases that are connected not only by geography, but by sounds of the heart, oblivious to prevailing trends. 

     Christine Albert and Chris Gage, formerly billed as Boxcars, have seemingly invented a new musical format here:  Adult Contemporary/Austin Style.  Such harmonic flights as "Time Flies" and "Standing at the Wall" would appeal to fans of Don Henley and Lee Ann Womack, but there's also an unvarnished feel that makes this material sound right for such hometown holes-in-the-wall as the Cactus and Gaby & Mo's.   Then you have tracks like the swingin' "Up Up Up," the croony title track and the countryfied "I Used To Be Lonesome" that flash the "two sets a night" range often required in this clubland paradise.

     Albert's voice retains the cabaret flavor of her '80s solo career, when she was pegged a Piaf of the plains, but mixed with Gage's solid, no frills baritone, she loses some of the preciousness.  Here's a couple unashamedly in love with their material, and the enthusiasm can't help but rub off on listeners.

     A Cover of Iris DeMent's "My Life," a piano song on a guitar album, is especially engaging.  "My life is tangled in wishes/and so many things that just never seemed to turn out right," Albert sings, no doubt looking back on her own projected stardom.  "But I gave joy to my mother/I made my lover smile," she adds, her voice rising.  "I can give comfort to my friends when they're hurting."  The ode to simple pleasures, of making whatever good you can, is the hinge that swings this door open. - Michael Corcoran