“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. Its 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.

1. Sugar Reef (Paul Guzzone)

2. Kiss Me Sweet (Steve J. Lewis & Armand J. Piron)

3. Caffeine (Patty Larkin)

4. The Dutchman (Michael P. Smith)
5. Princess Poo-poo-ly Has Plenty Pa-pa-ya/Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian
(Harry Owens/John Prine & Fred Koller)
6. Alcohol (Ray Davies)
7. All For the Love of the Game (Phillip Namanworth)
8. Dance Dis Dance (A. Cassell)
9. America in My Mind (Jane Barnett)
10. Take Me Home (Tom Waits)