With her 2005 Lost Highway debut, Mercy Now, Mary Gauthier's presence as a notable songwriter increased on an international level. She earned the Americana Music Association's Award for New/Emerging Artist Of The Year, spots on several notable critics' best of lists, and even praise from Bob Dylan on his XM Satellite Radio Show. Her evolution as a singer/songwriter continues with Between Daylight and Dark. Produced by Joe Henry and recorded live in the studio in Henry's basement during the course of five days, Mary discovers the more fragile, tender, and hopeful side of letting the past go and living in the present. In an era when too many youthful singer-songwriters earn critical plaudits too easily, the more mature Mary Gauthier's track record has been a heartening exception to that rule. Her difficult early life and ability to create soulful, in-your-face poetry from harsh reality, occasional brutality, and hope set her apart. If anything, she surpasses her past work with this stunning live-in-the-studio effort that captures a wide range of scenarios. There's the needy desperation of the love songs "Please" and "Before You Leave" and her brilliant conjuring of the raw displacement, rage, and grief of her fellow New Orleanians in the Hurricane Katrina-inspired "Can't Find the Way" (with a cameo from the legendary Van Dyke Parks). The atmospheric title song, penned by Gauthier and Fred Eaglesmith, teems with the angst of lost love. As the hard-hitting scenario of "Snakebit" carries the tension of classic film noir, "Thanksgiving" captures a bleak holiday prison visit. "The Last of the Hobo Kings" stands as a 21st-century requiem to the vanishing transients of the past, decades before they were renamed "homeless." Joe Henry's spare, understated production only enhances the wallop of these performances. In a world glutted with Americana singer-songwriters, many plagued by a dilettantism that prevents them from plowing too deeply into the dark side of the human condition, Gauthier reaffirms--magnificently--her ability to do that and much more. --Rich Kienzle
This is yet another amazing, dark, moving album from Mary Gauthier, whose consistency has led to five great albums. Needless to say, I am already a big fan of Mary's.Upon first listen, this album is more sparse, having been recorded live, lacking the smooth production of her other albums which have collaborated with Gurf Morlix in Nashville. But the intensity begins from the beginning notes. Her singing is a bit rough, less polished, but just as moving. Sometimes I think her music is like a female Bob D..
This lady can do no wrong. As a singer/songwriter she knocks the 'fluffy' new country bimbo's for six, male and female! If she had been around at the time she could have fitted in, no trouble, as a woman, with the original Nashville outlaws, Cash. Kristofferson, Nelson and co. Her music goes from strength to strength and I recommend anyone who has not heard her and likes their country,folk, americana music, call it what you will, with an 'edge' to listen, really listen, to this singer songwriter. She is bri..
At Joe's Pub in NYC last Friday night, Mary Gauthier told a largely gray head audience that she doesn't write happy songs. I suppose that is strictly true, but, with apologies to her and her understanding of what she writes, I don't think it's enough to leave it at that. Good things do not often happen in her songs, it is true. But the circumstances of those bad things lead sometimes to acts of love, kindness and, most importantly, carrying on. Her subjects are battered, but not beaten by what life deal..