“Europe is in my blood and Texas is in my soul,” says singer and songwriter Christine Albert. Albert grew up with a Parisian grandmother, and family members all around her in New York state as likely to speak French as to speak English. When she moved to the southwest, at first to New Mexico and later to Texas, she carried that experience with her.
She also carried a love of country and folk and Americana music, which turned out to be the way she has made her living, first as a solo artist with a time in Nashville and gigging around Texas and across the country. Later she teamed up both personally and professionally with guitarist Chris Gage. Together they’ve become top artists in the Americana scene as the duo Albert and Gage, and have also created Moonhouse Studio, where they record and produce other artists as well as work on their own projects.
But there was still that “Europe is in my blood” thing. One result is the album Paris, Texafrance. On it, Albert offers a collection of songs in French, some with English lyrics as well, which range from classic love songs from iconic French singer Edith Piaf to impressionist lyrics and jazz inflected melodies from another French icon, Charles Trenet. There’s a song from fellow Texas songwriter Michael Austin which to Albert always held the sound of a French song, so she translated it for this recording, and in a nod to another American songwriter, Jesse Winchester’s song La Louisiane. There’s The French Song, a 1963 hit for Canadian singer Lucille Star, and The French Waltz, which Albert says she heard in the 1970s on Nicolette Larson’s first album, and “I pictured my French grandmother sitting at her window in Paris, waiting for me to visit.”
Through the album, Albert stays true to her own unique sound of being French, American, and Texan, with a style a and phrasing all her own. She well handles songs that move from the high stepping swing of Trenet’s Swing Troubadour through to the closing with Piaf’s Hymn to Love, which does, indeed, take on the character of a hymn, and a rightful closing to a fine journey through a Texafrance landscape in music.
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