On the Road…Mary Gauthier
I cannot remember how I stumbled on to her music years ago, but I knew after hearing one song that I had to share it with as many people as I could find. I sat down with Mary Gauthier (GOH-shay)before her show at The White Water Tavern in Little Rock, AR. She recently returned from the European leg of her Live at Blue Rock tour where she recalled playing in some of the oldest churches across Ireland. “The acoustics in those churches are just perfect…my songs fit well. I’d love to do a whole tour in those churches.”
If you’ve listened to Gauthier’s catalogue of songs for any length of time, you understand exactly where this artist is coming from and where she is now. An incomparable storyteller, Gauthier effortlessly allows you into her seemingly open wounds while keeping you safe from harm. She steers you through pain and vulnerability, yet away from sympathy and into empathy. Exploring everything from addiction to adoption, the imagery born from Gauthier’s voice gives you a voyeurs view of characters we rarely see outside the cinema. In “Last of the Hobo Kings”, we meet Steam Train Maury through what could be a most beautiful eulogy of not only the man himself, but for an entire way of life that is slipping from todays view.
The music, lyrics, and her haunting voice combine to keep you longing for the story. As I sat in the tavern with a couple hundred people, it was reminiscent of childhood sitting around the circle listening, not wanting to miss a word and or have it end. At times the room was so quiet, you could hear the click of my camera shutter as Gauthier crafted each phrase. The crowd was given a treat that night as well. Gauthier previewed a new song she had just completed in Ireland two weeks prior and if this is any indication of the quality of songs on the next album, I want to pre-order today. I asked Gauthier about her plans following this tour and she revealed, “I’ve been writing a lot…I’ve got enough for the next album, but the songs keep getting better so I want to wait and see what comes in the next 30-60 days before going back to the studio.”
Mary Gauthier has had some landmark performances and accomplishments. Most notably at the Grand Ole Opry alongside Marty Stuart. Her record, Drag Queens in Limousines, won the First Annual Independent Music Award for Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song, and she was nominated for Best New Artist of the year by the Boston Music Awards. She was nominated for three GLAMA awards (Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards) and won best country artist of the year. In 2002 her third album, Filth and Fire, was named “Best Indy CD of the year” by Jon Pareles of The New York Times. For 2005’s Mercy Now she earned the Americana Music Association’s New/Emerging Artist of the Year title, and 2011’s The Foundling was named the No. 3 Record of the Year by the L.A. Times.
The journey from runaway teen in Louisiana to trained chef and multiple restaurant owner in Boston delivered Mary Gauthier to be one of the most inspiring songwriters of the last two decades. Embroider the lyrics with her voice and you have a tapesty of unadulterated, honest emotion that is very hard to find today. You can find tour dates, a journal, and more at www.marygauthier.com.