Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mercy Now

Before diving into today's dive diva, we'd like to draw yr attention to a new blog on the block, Groover's Paradise, where they celebrate their favorite 20th Century rock, country, and soul music. Truth be told, they invited me on as a contributor, so if you like what I post here, but can't stand the interminable wait, or get frustrated with my rambling posts, this is the site to get yr quick fix without the wordy rants. Every contributor at Groover's Paradise has impeccable taste in music, so you can't go wrong making it a daily stop in yr internet trawl. We'll bring the potato salad.

Today, let's take a look at our recent poll winner, Mary Gauthier. Hope she doesn't mind if we share a few of her great tunes with y'all. We'll get to some of the others shortly.

Mary Gauthier has been compared in some quarters to our secret best friend, Tom Waits. While this comparison doesn't exactly hold sonically, she certainly possesses his gift of exploration into the darker world of the down'n'out, the life between the walls, life'n'hope'n'sex'n'dreams. Listening to her songs, you can imagine the smallness of time and the ticking of the clock, with the smallness of life examined under the most intense of magnifying glasses.

We spend a great deal of time here talking about voices, the sonic tenor of the sound an individual can make with only their vocal chords as their primary weapon in the battle of expression. Gauthier possesses a voice that will break your heart, leave you stranded in the sand of the furthest desert, running through the heat to find the the nearest oasis filled with liquor and regret. Husky and soaked with liquor, haunted by the regret of being, will be, and have been, Gauthier paints the corners of life in sepia-tinged tones, alive with the force of life and the heart of the beauty of sadness, trapped and free, swiveled on the pinpoint of circumstance and running to stand on the edge of yr steepest cliff of becoming.

Yeah, she's pretty damned good.

We wanted to post a tune from all of her albums, but we're a little gun shy, so we'll give you a very small sampling of the Gauthier brilliance. "I Drink" is the pinnacle of her tunes, so far as we're concerned (she'd probably disagree). But it's a tune that agrees strongly with our besotted temperament. "Mercy Now" is a lament for the human condition. "Ever Easy" is a love song for those of us who live in the real world (replete with fiddle goodness). And "Camelot Motel" is the culmination of nights too long in the wasteland.

Mary Gauthier receives one of the highest approval ratings we could possibly give. What are you waiting for?

Mary Gauthier: I Drink (mp3)

Mary Gauthier: Mercy Now (mp3)

Mary Gauthier: Ever Easy (mp3)

Mary Gauthier: Camelot Motel (mp3)

Please support your local, independent hourly rate motel.


Fusion 45 said...

We of the music junkie stripe wrestle in dark hallways with the truth of life: that 12 minutes we spent sleeping last night could've been spent listening to another singer we've heard of but haven't heard, like Mary Gauthier. How many singers would like to have half her talent? I try to avoid comparisons to other singers but, yes, it's Tom Waits meets Lucinda. If you've not heard them, you might drop in on Berkeley Place and take a listen to The Strange Boys. [Namaste|Music Junkie|Fusion 45]

pete said...

This is beautiful. "Mercy Now" made me tear up. Thanks for this, and for all your good work here.

dan said...

She's the female version of a young John Prine - simple melodies, and real poetry. And, just like John, she can't actually sing worth a shit. This is great stuff. It's soul music.

Fusion 45 said...

Coming back with a double-dip...spent the weekend with all four of these tunes -- Camelot Motel gets more beautifully tragic every time I listen.

pilgrim said...

Mary Gauthier. Absolutely goddamn right!I got to her via Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour (he played, IIRC, the Drag Queens version of I Drink) and I was thunderstruck: sings like John Prine (meets, well, any of the comparisons above), and writes like maybe Steve Earle.

I think it took until about the eighth time I listened to I Drink before I didn't choke up by the end of the first verse.

She gets me right where I live.