This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
Mary Gauthier is an old soul ensconced in the body of a 30-something-year-old. Having acquired a kaleidoscopic collage of chilling experiences and searing memories, along with a few requisite scars, she has expurgated her past into a release whose landscape is littered with the essences of those who have lived and loved--too little, too much, never seemingly in the appropriate balance for the moment or time.
The Louisiana-born Gauthier speaks and sings her material and, at times, especially on "I Drink," sounds like an female incarnation of John Prine. A more apt overall description of her music though would be Fred J. Eaglesmith on Qualudes--she even closes out her CD with a train song! But Gauthier's material, while illuminating many of the same shadows and dark sides as Eaglesmith, is of a much slower pace and quieter sound.
On the title cut, she describes leaving high school and her family behind for the colorful life of the big city. Closing out the cut, she proudly sings:
our lady of the shooting stars
as I face the early light
all that I can think of now
is joining you in flight
but I have followed gypsies, girl
and lost my way back home
I've held the phoenix to my chest
and ended up alone
If I move to you,
will you move to me?
our lady of the shooting stars,
teach me how to know
I want to feel my thoughts go dark
and rest inside your flow
I'll awaken without fear
and breathe the cool clean air
with your words upon my lips
your will becomes my prayer
our lady of the shooting stars
look what you have done
you've led me to the water's edge
running from sun
are you in the briny mist?
do seagulls scream your name?
their wings suspended by your Love
or do I reach for you in vain?
...Yes I know, what I am
No I don't, give a damn
Fish swim, birds fly
Daddy's yell, mamma's cry
old men sit and think
"Lucky Stars" has probably already been adopted by Relationships Anonymous. Gauthier plaintively and ironically sings:
Silence fills the room tonight
you've never been this cold
to leave my sliding down your icy look
with nowhere to grab a hold
I know it's hard to know the truth
so we live with points of view
now I'm counting on my lucky stars
I used to count on you
Everything you do to me
I've done to you before
there's a beauty in the symmetry
of evening the score
Leaving leads me home to you
darlin try to see
I'm put together needing room
to remember what I need...
There's a tapping on my shoulder
a tugging on my soul
the restlessness that torments you
is making me whole
you're the one I'm drawn to
my heart is yours and it don't carry on
but you must let me go babe
I'll be back
I'm a different kind of gone..."
My heart moves with the morning sun
it's not ready to set for anyone
when I said I love you
it was a slip of the tongue
I didn't lie, but it wasn't the truth
I know it's not right but what can I do
My memories haunt me they never let me go
There's someone on my mind
and I think you should know
Love is more than a feeling
it's a way of living everyday
it's the hardest thing I ever gave away"
It may seem like Gauthier has never seen a sunrise she couldn't douse but don't let that scare you away. Her superb writing and absolutely authentic drawl elevate her music above that of the typical struggling singer-songwriter. Her talent for presenting what she has lived and seen is a superb. As she ages into the various stages of life, it will be fascinating to hear the world she captures and documents with her subsequent releases.
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