Everything’s Beautiful Now
MoonHouse Records

There’s a time — and music — for Texas two-stepping and knocking back cold longnecks in Texas dance halls, and then there’s a time — and music — for reflecting on that cold hard fact from the Gospel of Hank Williams that none of us get out of this world alive. Veteran Austin songbird Christine Albert’s Everything’s Beautiful Now is a collection of beautifully crafted songs born out of the sorrow and contemplation from seeing several beloved friends and family members pass on in recent years. From loss comes lyrical elegance; from heartache comes harmonic convergence with the precious memories that remain. In paying this moving tribute to those dearly departed, Albert draws upon an impressive array of musical friends and family, from co-producer and long-time partner Chris Gage to Eliza Gilkyson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and her son Troupe Gammage, with whom she duets on Shake Russell and Dana Cooper’s “Lean My Way,” a lovely promise to be there for others through life’s hard times. Albert covers Warren Zevon’s plaintive and pleading “Keep Me In Your Heart,” a song that in Albert’s hands — and with Gage’s hands on a mournful yet hopeful accordion — becomes a celebration of the staying power of remembrance. She also takes a graceful turn at Jackson Browne’s elegiac “For a Dancer” and Tom Peterson’s “On That Beautiful Day,” a sanguine vision buttressed by Lloyd Maines’ masterful dobro work. While she wisely chooses the works of others, it is Albert’s own songs that make Everything’s Beautiful Now a cherished gift. The title track, inspired by some of the last words of her mother-in-law, includes Albert’s words of placid and poetic acceptance: “The window’s open, the breeze is blowing, so I’ll be going.” — D.C. BLOOM