Well, here's something you don't run across every day: honky-tonk country Parisienne avec les pommes de cabaret Piaf. Christine Albert has conflated a broad swatch of American down-home to the tones of chanteuse Edith Piaf (and in-country compeers), a woman who was to the side of the hot jazz movement but in many ways just as influential to singers as Django Reinhardt was to players. This is the third in a successful series of an artistic marriage that has been increasingly lauded critically and popularly.
Chris Gage, Albert's husband and a music star in his own right, produced and seconds Christine instrumentally alongside several other sparkling musicians. She sings chiefly in French but, on some songs, bounces between English and the tongue of a grandmother who influenced her. The romance of the sensual sound Francoise and the more pastoral tones of the American Southwest blend surprisingly well in this vocalist's hands (as does Gage's 'cordine). When You're Away becomes a superb showcase of everything most impressive in the venture, imbued with sweet feminine longing, frail sentiments, and meadowlark tones.
The Jesse Winchester cut, L'air de Louisiane, nicely exposes that composer's delta-French roots in an enticingly arranged brocade of lilting melody and restrained guitar (Gage) while Don't Cry has a gentle swing to it. Then the Piaf cuts can't help but exhibit the lightly avant-garde ways Edith preferred to spice her music with. Paris, Texafrance is a long reach from Austin to the Eiffel Tower that warmly bridges distance with heart and soul, and I strongly recommend you pair it with the Putumayo label's Acoustic France (here) for a champagne doubleheader.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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