Musical Valentines: Christine Albert & Chris Gage

Chris Gage and Christine Albert. Photo by Todd V. Wolfson
Chris Gage and Christine Albert. Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we asked a handful of Austin couples who play music together to share a few thoughts on how love and music intertwine in their relationships. We’ll post their responses here on Austin Music Source each day this week, and feature them in the Sunday print edition of the American-Statesman on Valentine’s Day.

CHRISTINE ALBERT & CHRIS GAGE

Christine and Chris play together in the duo Albert & Gage, and also separately in weekly shows at El Mercado, Donn’s Depot and Strange Brew. Chris also plays with Jerry Jeff Walker, and Christine is involved with NARAS, the organization that presents the Grammys.

How they met:

Christine: I heard Chris play the Broken Spoke Music Series with Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the Bass Concert Hall in 1995. I loved his playing. Several months later I needed a guitar player and all of my “go-to” favorites were unavailable. I looked in the Union (AFM/Austin Federation of Musicians) Directory and saw his name and called him up. Jimmie Dale was about to take a three month break from touring. He said, “I can cover for a few months.” That was 20 years ago.

Their special song(s):

Chris: It’s actually a song we wrote together called “What Am I to You.” When we were first together I started the song, and then we passed the notebook back and forth to finish it in the back of a van while touring Europe.

Christine: Chris started it in a big old gasthaus/music hall in Germany one morning. I was sleeping and thought I was lucid dreaming — “what a great song this is; I have to remember it when I wake up.” When I woke up I realized it was actually Chris writing it. He wrote the first verse, I wrote the second and together we wrote the bridge and the third verse. It was a musical conversation about our brand new relationship.

“Dream date” or ideal romantic night:

Christine: Being alone on a porch in a cabin in Leakey, Texas, overlooking the river. It has only happened a couple of times but it’s my idea of true romance because that’s when we can truly connect, undistracted.

Chris: A dinner in a killer restaurant where we don’t talk about business would be very romantic.

A Valentine’s Day or anniversary spent on the road together or apart:

Christine: I started the Christine Albert Annual Valentine’s French Show almost 25 years ago so we have worked every Valentine’s Day. That day usually involves running over my lyrics, pulling together clothes and equipment, load in, set up, rehearsal and sound check, show, tear down. It’s a work day!

Chris: Several times our anniversary fell on a day when Christine was in Los Angeles on Grammy business. She would text me a picture of her toasting at a table full of men! Memorable.

Plans for this Valentine’s Day:

Christine: The 58th Annual Grammy Awards are February 15 this year. We’ll be in Los Angeles for that, so the French Show in Austin is Feb. 12 [at El Mercado Backstage]. The 14th we’ll be attending the Grammy Awards Nominee Reception and the Texas Chapter Party in Los Angeles. A real Valentine’s Day!

Chris: It’s the first time we haven’t played a show on Valentine’s Day since we met.

An Alpine adventure:

Christine: We took a group of fans to Europe to experience an Albert and Gage tour. They came to all our shows and during the day the promoter, Martin Meier, organized fabulous sightseeing adventures. One day the group went shopping in the morning and the plan was to pick us up at the hotel at noon on the way to take a gondola/tram up to the top of the mountain and hike to an Alpine lake. We waited and waited and finally got Martin on the phone as they were happily riding up the mountain. They had forgotten us! So we found our way, took the tram, hiked to the lake and found them all sipping beers and teas and snacking on Swiss delights. We reminded them that this was the “Albert and Gage Alpine Adventure!”

Author: Peter Blackstock

Music writer for the Austin American-Statesman and austin360.com. Twitter: @Blackstock360

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