Tag Archives: Mary Gauthier

Cry Me a Torch Song – the Video Version: January 2018

6 Feb

The January 2018 issue of Cry Me A Torch Song – The Video Version. Piers Ford reviews albums from Mary Gauthier (Rifles & Rosary Beads: “Emotional touch-points that are universal and strike sparks of hope and revelation in the darkest corners of the lyrics”); Joan Baez (Whistle Down the Wind: “A rich, plangent sound, and a natural, unforced grandness that befits an artist of Baez’s stature”); Beth Nielsen Chapman (Hearts of Glass: “Conflict, affirmation, loss and revelation jostle for attention in a beautifully produced collection of new and revisited songs”), and Mary Byrne (Mary Byrne Sings the Sixties: “Pristine versions of signature numbers, impeccably arranged”).

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Album review – Mary Gauthier: Trouble & Love

15 Jul

How You Learn to Live Alone: an electrifying performance from Mary Gauthier

Trouble & Love: powerful narratives and no self-pitying sobs

Trouble & Love: powerful narratives and no self-pitying sobs

Louisiana-born Mary Gauthier has lived more lives than a cat – and they all resonate through her songs with a truth and authenticity that goes way beyond the mainstream tropes of country and western music. This, after all, is a woman who lived among addicts and drag queens as a teenage runaway, fell prey to a spell of drug addiction of her own, and recovered to run her own small chain of Boston restaurants before selling up to become a full-time songwriter.

On her new album, Trouble and Love, Gauthier’s voice wears the scars of experience with hypnotic dignity, slipping in and around the powerful narratives of her songs with an easy musicality that also allows her to give her more trenchant observations a defiant edge. It’s a voice steeped in hard-earned wisdom, with no time for the self-pitying sob. There’s an assured intimacy which hints at the overall themes of the record, the first on her own label, of independence and moving on.

Gauthier says she’s taking back and claiming her power. So while the fatalism of the opening track, “When a Woman Goes Cold” and the notes of betrayal on “False From True” cover some familiar territory, the acceptance of deeds done and accounted for, explored in a number like “Oh Soul”, hints at the redemption and hope that finally gather pace in “Worthy”. Gauthier’s eye is on the horizon. As she later sings, we’re all just “Walking Each Other Home”

Co-produced with Patrick Granado, Trouble and Love grows greater with each listen. Gauthier’s formidable song-writing talents are complemented by contributions from Beth Nielsen Chapman and, on the bittersweet journey of “How You Learn to Live Alone”, the sublime Gretchen Peters. These are formidable partnerships that strike lyrical sparks, epitomising the strength of contemporary song-writing that flows out of Nashville.