Mary Gauthier – Dark Enough To See The Stars
While the Grammy-nominated Mary Gauthier (vocals/acoustic guitar/harmonica) mourns the death of friends Nanci Griffith, John Prine & David Olney her new set maintains an optimistic side of herself. This set is from her 11th CD — her first in 8 years. It does what Mary does best. Express herself eloquently through her music.
Mary returns to a confessional style on the 10-cut Dark Enough To See The Stars (Drops June 3– Independent). I came to Mary in 2005 with “Mercy Now,” an excellent CD. With those troubadour deaths & those before — such as Judee Sill, Tim Hardin, Leonard Cohen & Townes van Zandt — we need artists who can come to the surface with songs that embody life – the sad parts & the jubilant ones. Melodies tailored with grace — with power.
Mourning those who passed is a way of celebrating them. These are people some of us didn’t know personally. Yet they came into our lives. So, we mourn those we didn’t know, will never know, but maybe they — knew us? They bared the souls; they came into our ears privately when we were alone & needed their message. Some of their songs may have spoken to us about what we were going through. Certain songs can be therapy.
Mary Gauthier’s work is often intense in a beautiful manner. “Mercy Now,” was that for me. Judee Sill’s “The Kiss,” & “Jesus Was a Cross-maker,” were. Eleanor McEvoy’s “Only a Woman’s Heart,” was a beauty. David Knopfler’s “Going Fishing (With My Son),” & Kris McKay’s “If Ever You Need Me” got to me. Cindy Bullens’ entire classic LP “Somewhere Between Heaven & Earth,” (done after the cancer death of her 11-year-old daughter) was stunning.
This is the melodic arena of Mary. Emotional, illuminating sparkles of musical magic that carry along with it — every note, every tear, that went into writing them.
The beautiful “How Could You Be Gone,” will strike a nerve. Mary skims the surface of the softer side of Lucinda Williams (“Fall Apart World” “About Time”) in tone & vocalese. Mary & Lucinda would be quite a team. The poignancy drenched “Amsterdam,” finds her voice matured & with character.
Recorded in Nashville by Neilson Hubbard (drums/mellotron), the musicians are – Michael Rinne (bass), Danny Mitchell (keyboards/vocals), Jaimee Harris (guitar/acoustic guitar/vocal), Juan Solorzano (electric guitar/high-strung guitar & baritone guitar), Allison Moorer (vocals), Michele Gazich (violin/viola), Ben Glover (vocals) & Fats Kaplin (pedal steel/viola).
Sometimes music won’t cause any measurable tremors in the musical landscape. But if the words & music linger long enough in someone’s heart to allow them to smile briefly, privately, even with a tear in their misty eyes – from your work – your job is done.
Cindy Bullens’ CD did it for me & it continues to. Mary Gauthier does this. One of the year’s best, without a doubt.
Photo courtesy: Website & 2nd image by Alexa King Stone. CD @ https://www.marygauthier.com/