Her music has a wonderful quirkiness to it that is totally entertaining and intelligent lyrics that appeal to a sophisticated audience.
... Last Sundays performance featured singer/songwriter Mary Ellen Bernard appearing with her husband Paul Guzzone. You may have seen Paul on The Rosie ODonnell Show or ... if you managed to catch the Bacon Brothers in concert, Paul was the one playing the bass. When performing with Bernard, Paul makes up the entire band, trading in his bass for an old Martin and the occasional harmonica, while Mary Ellen captivates the audience with her charm, wit and outstanding voice. The Diaper Rag touts the joys of not falling victim to the biological clock. A bluesy little number This n That bemoans the dilemma of not gettin any, and Bernard, theatrically sultry and immensely funny, describes how a little this n that is good for the varieties of what ails ya. In contrast, calm and grooving Coney Island Mojo is a song about love, magic and the Coney Island of yesteryear. Between songs, Mary Ellens conversation reels in the audience with the inherent humor and appeal of her anecdotal segues...
In concert, Bernard mixes the theatrical with the musical and, of course, healthy doses of comedy. The songs are woven together with stand-up comedy and the quirky synthesis of past and present can only be described as nouveau vaudeville. Bernard has a Broadway voice, a cabaret-performers look, a great sense of humor and an off-the-wall collection of material. What more could you ask for in a performer?
A few shades shy of petite, Mary Ellen Bernard looks like she couldnt break 100 pounds if she were clutching an anvil. Her voice is what tips the scale.... Her latest release, Bus Stop, is a rich mix of styles and stories that blends grit, humor and solid songwriting in an eclectic melange far spicier than the vanilla warblings of million-sellers like Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morrisette.
More than a mere gathering of beautifully performed and recorded songs (which it is), like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks or Carole Kings Tapestry, it's one of those rare albums whose sum is greater than the total of its parts. Her soulful covers of Rex Fowler's Faster Gun and the Hollies Bus Stop are stunning absolutely infectious. It's just a fine, fine album."
I hear shades of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Maria Muldaur, Holly Cole, and even Paul Simon in these well-crafted looks at life. The music is consistently wonderful, delivered with precision, thoughtfulness, and joy.
A welcome exploration of a host of different musical genres featuring unique stylings, imaginative adaptations, considerable talent, and fine backup musicians. Mary Ellen embraces a lyric with clear confidence and occasional humor.
The arrangements are varied and tasty with a wide range of subject matter and emotional real estate.
If she were a chef, her spice cabinet would need restocking daily. Brooklyns Mary Ellen Bernard seasons her material to taste, and cooks with a high flame. Extremely fluent in the American song tradition, she performs her selections to the limits of their sanity, until genres turn to gel and the music yields its tender artichoke heart of true, personal interpretation. Its fun, its classy, its tongue-in-cheek as all hell ... Go ahead: think of another female vocalist whose disks are pressed with as much blues, jazz, swing and sin. Bette Midler. Ok, that was easy. Name another...
In its heyday, Coney Island was a panoply of colors, sounds and sensations. Mary Ellen Bernards Coney Island Mojo is likewise a multi-faceted, personality-infused, urban carnival. While stylistically all over the map country, blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, rock n roll Bernards CD is held together by a sassy, cabaret-style sensibility, given a dramatic flair that confirms her background as an actress and stand-up comic.
...the funniest song on the CD, hands down, is The Diaper Rag, a collaboration between Bernard and Guzzone, [it] was born around the time that many of their married friends started having kids. Suddenly, these same friends were telling them what great parents they - Bernard and Guzzone, that is - would make....
[One of] the ten best albums of 1996 that youve probably never heard of (but should have): This Brooklyn-based chanteuse follows up her debut album with another intriguing eclectic collection of songs that shows her versatility in a wide range of styles. Produced again by husband/guitarist Paul Guzzone, this outing is mostly original material with a few well-chosen covers.... the irrepressible Ms. Bernard handles pop, boogie-woogie, country, Cajun, humorous songs, romantic ballads and island music with equanimity, verve and aplomb.
Diversity is good. It keeps us entertained and refreshed. and theres a good does of it here on Coney Island Mojo. This Brooklyn girl delivers her own blend of slinky blues, swingy jazz, New Orleans rhythms, country and pop. You know that movie actor, Kevin Bacon? Well, he and his brother Michael composed Only a Good Woman, which debuts here. And once youve heard The Diaper Rag (which she co-wrote with her producer, Paul Guzzone) youll find the other two ingredients of this lively CD: humor and wit. Yep, its all right here on Coney Island Mojo.
Though she probably has more in common with Bette Midler than Shawn Colvin, Bernard has for the last few years been making noises on the folk circuit.... She will be riding into town on the heels of Coney Island Mojo, her critically acclaimed second record. Together with husband and musical collaborator Paul Guzzone, Mojo serves up an interesting selection of jazz, Cajun rhythms, Broadway style show tunes and tender laments.... the records highlights are all original. The title track, written by Guzzone, is a fine slice of Americana....
I have no clue how to describe this music. its got a bit of big band, some Americana, a nice acoustic feel, and enough humor to keep you wondering!
This disc might be perfect. Armed with a terrific choice of songs, Ms. Bernards clear, fine voice saunters, whispers and pouts inside lively, loopy arrangements. Theres no hotdogging and nothings overplayed. Her vocal style is of the nice n easy school, without gimmickry or over-calculation. Four stars to bassist-producer Paul Guzzone whose arrangements are unimprovable. If life were fair, everyone would hear Lets Talk Dirty in Hawaiian. I want everything these folks have ever done.
Looking like a cross between Betty Grable and Alice from The Brady Bunch in a go-go skirt, Mary Ellen Bernard debuts with a delectably eclectic collection of songs by Tom Waits, Ray Davies, Patty Larkin, John Prine and Jane Barnett. Blending blues, swing, soca, cabaret and even rap, Bernard and producer/arranger Paul Guzzone deliver the goods with verve, humor, and quirky charm. This crazy chick should turn VH-1 on its ear.
Bette Midler meets Liza Minnelli meets Weird Al meets Cyndi Lauper meets ... well, you know what I mean. The point is that, with tongue firmly entrenched in cheek, Mary Ellen Bernard serves up a thoroughly enjoyable, mixed bag of popular music on Point of Departure... Not only might this album be the only way to get parents to voluntarily listen to a Tom Waits song. But it also proves to those not old enough to remember, that the best music isnt always found on the Top 20 Video Countdown.