Sunday, April 5, 2009

JUST LISTEN: MARY GAUTHIER


My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor
Fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over

It won’t be long and he won’t be around

I love my father, and he could use some mercy now


I first heard the song "Mercy Now" by Mary Gauthier on the radio at work as my father was dying of cancer. At this point, I had prayed so much that I had no new words to offer God, so the song became my prayer. In the end, there was no mercy, no miracles or Divine intervention, only horrible pain.

Mary Gauthier (pronounced G0-shay) knows a lot about pain. Born in Louisiana, folk singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier was given up by a mother she never knew. She stole her adoptive parents' car and ran away from home at 15, spending the next few years in drug rehabilitation and halfway houses. Her 18th birthday was spent in jail. She didn't write her first song at age 35.

Her first album, Dixie Kitchen, was named after her restaurant in Boston. She later sold her share of the restaurant to record her second album, Drag Queens in Limousines. Her third album, Filth and Fire, was named Best Indy CD of the Year by The New York Times. After moving to Nashville, she released Mercy Now, which was a critical success, landing on the Top 10 List of The New York Times, The LA Times, New York Daily News and Billboard Magazine. She followed up her success with, Between Daylight and Dark, an album "with both hope and anguish, with faith as well as fear."

“I’ll never get rid of that wild-child, going-to-jail, crazy-adolescence story,” she admits. “But I’ve moved way past that thing. I’m ten years into songwriting. I’ve finished my fifth record. I’ve been a sober woman for a very long time, for many years longer than I wasn’t. I’ve matured – and my writing has matured. And I am learning how to allow myself to be vulnerable, to step out on a ledge and hang there, as an artist, and as a woman; to allow my writing to expose parts of me that I have always feared showing - my softer side, my fragility, my needs.”

You can learn more about Mary Gauthier on her website and purchase her music here.


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