Review Archive

Mary Gauthier treats us to a live album – and ‘Live At Blue Rock’

(September 18, 2012)

Finally - at last - for the first time Mary Gauthier treats us to a live album – and ‘Live At Blue Rock’ is undiluted, unadulterated, full strength Gauthier. For those that haven’t luxuriated in hearing this lady Mary Gauthiersing live this album will let you know exactly what you’ve been missing – desperately poignant, sometimes harsh narrative songs delivered with an authority and intensity that does massive justice to their messages.

Mary has a voice that sears her songs into your soul. There are no half-measures here. This is as rich as it comes, full flavour and brimming with muscle. Songs like ‘Last of The Hobo Kings’ and ‘Blood is Blood’ take you on journeys to make you understand the phrase ‘There but for the grace of God...’ There are people here with achingly forlorn lives, people that the world has treated poorly and it’s left to a lady with Mary’s innate song writing ability to reflect those lives and tell their story.

The mournful, sometime desolate extremities of her vocals tell the tales to perfection; she knows these conditions with direct experience of their impact. The way Mary sings and writes songs she pours so much of herself into their delivery. The desolation of ‘Cigarette Machine’ with its intense fiddle breaks to expand its devastating accuracy, the frailty of ‘Our Lady of the Shooting Stars’ fearlesslyexposes its sad contemplation and there’s the finality of misery in ‘Karla Faye’.

These songs are not easy-listening. They are not imaginary far-distant ‘might happen’ stories. These are true-story songs filled with gut wrenching pain but somewhere in their narratives exist survivors - so often generated by wretched circumstances.

‘Live At Blue Rock’ was recorded live at Blue Rock Artists Ranch near Austin Texas – released on 1st October in the UK on Proper Records, catalogue PRPCD106.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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