Their latest album, Burning Moonlight, led an Austin Chronicle reviewer to exclaim, "(The songs are) beautifully framed by the duo's intertwined, yearning vocals, leaving a glow as luminous and bright as moonlight itself." And the Houston Press noted, "From George Jones and Tammy Wynette to Richard and Linda Thompson, male-female duets are one of popular music's most delightful permutations. And the Austin-based duo of Christine Albert and Chris Gage easily slot right in with the best."
Says Christine of her partner, "Musically, I like to go in lots of different directions"-from country songs to French chansons-"and Chris goes right along with me. It's not just that he plays bluegrass or folk or blues, but that he plays it all with so much integrity."
"After being a sideman for several years I was ready to start my own band again", recalls Gage. "I wasn't sure exactly how that would manifest, and then I met Christine. What we brought out in each other was magical."
Onstage, Albert's slender, dark beauty contrasts strikingly with Gage's craggy good looks. How gracefully they complement each other is easily apparent. Although they have functioned as a duo for just six years, both musicians' individual pedigrees are far more extensive.
Gage is a journeyman musician and South Dakota native who literally began touring in a station wagon at age 15. In the mid-Seventies and early Eighties he led the popular midwestern country-swing Red Willow Band, and from there graduated to an eight-year tenure on piano with guitar virtuoso and country star Roy Clark. After moving to Austin in 1991, Gage began commuting to San Antonio to take the reins as musical director for the Fiesta Texas theme park.
But it was during (and following) his next incarnation, as bandleader for West Texas alt.-country singer/songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore, that he began to carve out his own place in the Austin scene as an in-demand session player and accompanist. It was with Gilmore that Christine first heard Chris play and in 1997 Albert & Gage was formed. The duo later toured as an opening act for Gilmore and as members of his ensemble.
Christine Albert's French grandmother lived in Paris and her mother was born in Switzerland, so perhaps it's inevitable that the occasional Edith Piaf song migrates into her sets of original material and carefully chosen covers. Indeed, she recorded an entire album of lovely (albeit improbable) Franco-Lone Star fusion entitled Texafrance in 1992; and a 2003 sequel-Texafrance-Encore!-was released, appropriately enough, on Valentine's Day.
Christine herself cut her musical teeth in northern New Mexico, in the chic environs of Santa Fe and in the rough-and-tumble biker bars out along the Turquoise Trail. Along with fellow New Mexico chanteuse Eliza Gilkyson, Albert re-located to Austin in 1982 and began to distinguish herself as a singer-songwriter in a town where the bar for such artists is set very high indeed.
She has released five solo albums, including Texafrance, The High Road and Underneath the Lone Star Sky. In 1996, she was voted Female Vocalist of the Year in the Kerrville Music Awards poll associated with the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival and has appeared on Austin City Limits, both with Gilkyson and on her own show. A longtime community activist, Albert is also known for her work on behalf of survivors of sexual assault.
When they are not on the road, Albert and Gage stay busy in their own MoonHouse Studio, producing outside artists as well as their own projects. Currently, they are mixing and editing a live album recorded at Anderson Fair, the venerable Houston folk club, for their in-house label, MoonHouse Records. The album is set for release in the fall of 2003.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Time Flies
2. Hey Jimmy
3. Up Up Up
5. Burnin' Moonlight
6. Standing at the Wall
7. Life is a Miracle
8. My Life
9. Can't See The Light
10. I'll Be There For You
11. I Used to be Lonesome
12. Forever Young