Point of Departure
'This disc might be perfect. Armed with a terrific choice of songs, Ms. Bernard's clear, fine voice saunters, whispers and pouts inside lively, loopy arrangements. - Mark Keating, Sound Views As cool and quirky as a vintage martini shaker, this is a stylish synthesis of past and present pop, jazz, blues and lounge. Informed by the artist's theatrically rich, often humorous point of view the album is enhanced by producer Paul Guzzone's imaginative arrangements. It's mix of wicked humor and poignant storytelling prompted Ken Franklin of 'Radio Free New York' to describe Mary Ellen as 'Tom Waits meets Tracey Ullman.' Highlights are the tongue-in-cheek melodrama and bar room sing-along version of Ray Davies' 'Alcohol' and the wacky big-band reincarnation of Patty Larkin's folk-jazz 'Caffeine' which became a favorite with morning deejays. Refreshingly different and high in hip-quotient, Point of Departure has emotional appeal as well as intelligence, humor and variety. ********* Mary Ellen Bernard is a performing songwriter with a background in theater and comedy. A dynamic performer who has been described as 'Tom Waits meets Tracey Ullman,' she moves effortlessly from slinky blues to shimmering ballads to raucous roadhouse. Either as a duo with her husband and producer Paul Guzzone on guitar, or with a band, she is an on-stage powerhouse of energy, humor, and heart. Mary Ellen Bernard has performed in a variety of venues and circumstances - from a seaside dock in the Caribbean to a corporate conference. She's also appeared in more conventional venues of all sizes - clubs, coffeehouses, theaters, and outdoor stages. She has shared the stage with a diverse array of artists including John Prine, Loudon Wainwright III, Rockapella, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, John Sebastian, Cheryl Wheeler, and The Bacon Brothers (actor Kevin and brother Michael). She collaborates as a songwriter with her husband and she has released three albums: Point of Departure, a synthesis of quirky pop, jazz, blues and lounge; Coney Island Mojo, which puts a New York spin on some Southern sounds and Bus Stop, which balances sonic textures with guitar-driven rhythms and gritty acoustic rock. Coney Island Mojo was praised as 'a multi-faceted, personality-infused urban carnival' (Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Eagle). It was also listed among releases by Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, and Jonatha Brooke as one of 'the ten best albums of 1996 that you've probably never heard of - but should have' (Steve Bornstein, Mixx Magazine).