Christine Albert "Paris, Texafrance"
Sing Out Magazine Summer 2008 Vol. 52 #2
Image this: growing up in upstate New York with a French grandmother and a Swiss mother. Christine Albert found herself surrounded by the music of Parisian café society and its beloved songstress Edith Piaf. When she moved to Santa Fe these influences began to mix with the style of American singer-songwriters of the Southwest. Eventually, she relocated to Austin and her talent burst into full bloom. Paris, Texafrance is Christine’s third CD, and it’s a bilingual trip through a variety of classic French and American songs.
The CD opens with “Swing Troubadour” by Charles Trenet and Leon Chauliac. It is sung in both French and Christine’s English translation. She is ably accompanied by a very talented ensemble including Shawn Sanders, cell; Paul Glasse, mandolin; Eddie Cantu and Paul Pearcy, percussion; David Carroll, bass; and her husband Chris Gage, guitar, piano and accordion.
“I Shouldn’t Care / Quand J’M’En Fous Pas Mal” is a classic from the Piaf repertoire highlighting salon accordion and a light and airy rhythm. The most overtly “texafrench” of the selections is “The French Song” from the singing of Lucille Starr, who had a hit with the tune in 1963.
Jesse Winchester’s “L’air de la Louisiane” incorporates a delicate arrangement including nylon strung guitar and Christine’s ethereal backing vocals. Adam Mitchell’s “French Waltz” features the accordion and mandolin in its lovely accompaniment. You may recall the popular version by Nicolette Larson.
The CD concludes with the Edith Piaf’s signature anthem “Hymn a l’amour / Hymn to Love.” It is an appropriate ending to a delightful CD featuring a set of tunes that may not appeal to everyone, but given a chance you’ll fall under the spell of Paris, Texafrance by Christine Albert and her very talented ensemble. – TD
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