Rhythm & Views

Marianne Dissard

It would be a cruel simplification to pigeonhole Marianne Dissard's lovely singing voice as "breathy." More accurately, on her debut album, L'entredeux, Dissard shapes each exhalation into music--a diverse palette of sighing, moaning, trilling and purring.

Born in France but a longtime Tucson resident, Dissard is a singer/songwriter as well as a poet, activist, filmmaker and performance artist. She wrote most of the lovelorn lyrics on L'entredeux while her marriage to local musician Naïm Amor was dissolving. The English translations of these French-language tunes often read like Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights under the influence of Leonard Cohen.

Longtime collaborator Amor played guitar and composed the music for three tracks. Producer Joey Burns co-wrote the rest of the songs and played many instruments while his partner in Calexico, John Convertino, handled drums. Also on the album are Rob Burger of the Tin Hat Trio, Willie Nelson sideman Mickey Raphael and many Tucson talents, including Matt Mitchell, Vicki Brown, Michael Fan and Nick Luca.

The music ranges from moody pop-rock ("Flashback") to dark acoustic folk ("Cayenne"), from the menacing cabaret-meets-chamber pop of "Merci de Rien du Tout" to the Hot Club shuffle of "Les Draps Sourds" (which is reprised as a gorgeous waltz a few songs later). The beauty is enhanced by reverb-drenched guitars and lush string arrangements.