Sometimes an album pops up from nowhere in my collection and leaves an indelible mark.
That was the case with Mary Gauthier. I read some ludicrously glowing review somewhere and wandered down to the delightfully named Last Record Store and picked up a copy.
I’m sure the review made some comparison to Lucinda Williams, which is both justified and a little lazy.
Gauthier mines a very similar seam of maudlin, yet feisty and empowered alt-country. She has an emotive voice that sounds lived in yet capable of hitting the right note and tone each time.
Gauthier feels further removed from the country mainstream than Williams, however. Her tales are grittier. She somehow conveys the slightly non-country New Orleans’ roots (she ran a bar there for years and pronounces that surname “Gohshay”).
The tunes are typically very strong. The title track is powerful:
I Drink captures the focus of an alcoholic brilliantly. Wheel within the wheel sounds like a song you’ve known all your life.
I should own more material from Gauthier. And I should have gone and seen her when she was in town a couple of months back. Maybe a wander to the record store is in order.
File under: Plead for this…now