To tell a story is one thing, to tell a story and set it to music is another. To do those two things very well is what Mary Gauthier does. And might I add she has done all of this in the short span of 16 years. At the age of 35, Mary decided to start writing music and playing guitar. In her short career, she has written enough material to fill eight albums and has won several awards along with critical acclaim of her works. To describe her style, I like to put it this way, "she is a female version of John Prine." So being familiar with her music, I was quite excited when I found out she would be at Off Broadway and knew I had to cover this show. Off Broadway decided make this an intimate, seated show, a good choice outside of the squeaky chairs. Accompanying Gauthier on this tour are Canadian musicians, Joanna Miller (drums) and Scott Nolan on (guitars and keys).
From the time this trio steps foot on stage to the closing notes of "Mercy Now", one could not ignore each member's individual talents. Mary writes her songs from simple, everyday occurrences. Something as mundane as the reading of an obituary in a random newspaper can become the building blocks for a new song . Mary also writes songs from the heart. Songs of addiction, broken promises, and life in general, all relate back to Gauthier's past indiscretions and experiences. Almost every song was prefaced with a story of how it came to be and a long cast of characters used to create each song. Mary has also found a niche for taking the songs of Fred Eaglesmith, another talented songwriter, and exposing them to a her audience. One of Eaglesmith's songs that fits perfectly into Mary's repertoire is the haunting "Cigarette Machine". "Cigarette Machine" is a song about reflection, reflection on past lives, past transgressions, and reflection on dark places that are downright scary. Might I add that while Gauthier performed this song, no pictures were taken. Sometimes pictures just cannot convey what is being felt in the room or by the photographer. I'm going to end this article with a sales pitch: pick up Mary's new album, Live at Blue Rock. Outside of seeing her live, this album is as close as it gets to hearing Mary at her best. Thanks to Mary and Julie Arkenstone for allowing MTC access to this stellar performance. Pictures of the show are below:
Mary Gauthier feat. Scott Nolan & Joanna Miller @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:00:00 PM Rating: