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Mary Gauthier / Bio

In a Nashville bookstore, to the tune of steam hissing from a latte machine and laptop
taps of nearby browsers, she speaks in a low voice, yet communicates urgently. Her
voice never rises. Her music never rattles rafters or crashes like cymbals toward the
high notes in a power chorus. Her tempos shuffle and trudge more than they dash.
And her songs? They're about as idiosyncratic as anything in the wide world of "popular
music." They're painfully personal, especially on Trouble and Love. Yet they somehow
infiltrate the souls of her listeners, no matter how different the paths they've followed
through their lives.

Those songs weren't so much written as harvested by Gauthier. Though she lives not
far from the hit-making mills of Music Row, she admits to knowing nothing about how to
write on command. She says, "I have to be called to write. The call comes from
somewhere I don't understand, but I know it when I hear it."

That call first came to her a long time ago. Her life to that point had led her to extremes,
plenty of negatives and a few brilliant bright spots. An adopted child, who became a
teenage runaway, she found her first shelter among addicts and Drag Queens.
Eventually she achieved renown as a chef even while balancing the running of her
restaurant with the demands of addiction to heroin.

Two more successful restaurants, an escalating addiction, and a subsequent arrest, led
her into sobriety. All that was rehearsal for what to follow, when she wrote her first song
in her mid-thirties. From that point, Gauthier channeled a long line of works, almost all of them eloquent in
their insight, burnished by her writing technique. A core of devotees came to await each
next release. Their wait ends, for now, with Trouble and Love.

This time, Gauthier's songs rise from what she describes as an especially dark period. "I
started the process in a lot of grief," she explains. "I'd lost a lot. So the first batch of
songs was just too sad. It was like walking too close to the fire. I had to back off from it.
The truth is that when you're in the amount of grief I was in, it's an altered state. Life is
not that. You go through that. We human beings have this built-in healing mechanism
that's always pushing us toward life. I didn't want to write just darkness, because that's
not the truth. I had to write through the darkness to get to the truth. Writing helped me
back onto my feet again. This record is about getting to a new normal. It's a
transformation record."

The heart of that transformation, beating within Trouble and Love, is love. But it’s not
the kind of love that's celebrated on pop charts. In those tunes, love is its own end; the
story stops as the giddiness sets in, with no hint of what may follow. Gauthier knows
better; she has the scars to prove it.

"For me, love has been a real challenge," she admits. "Attachment has been a
challenge. This record is about losing an attachment I actually made. The loss of it was
devastating because I hadn't fully attached before to anyone. The good news is that I
can. The even better news is that I can, and I can lose, and live. Not only do I live, but
I've got a strength that I never had before."

Trouble and Love would fall or rise on the question of whether it crystalizes Gauthier's
experience and conveys it to those who want to feel it, as if the poetry of her lyric can
mirror and illuminate what they too have gone through. To help make this happen, she
invited a small group of singers and musicians into Nashville's Skaggs Place Studio,
each one chosen because of his or her ability to find the heart of the song. No one was
given a lead sheet or an advance demo or even headphones. The backup vocals were
invented on the spot. The microphones were vintage, and the songs were cut live, to
tape. Everyone stood together in the room, playing to what they heard in the lyric as
well as from what was going on in the moment.

"I took away everything that musicians lean on to feel invulnerable," she explains.
All they had to work with was a brief rundown of each song from Gauthier in the control
room, right before the tape rolled. "I wanted them to feel it in real time," she continues.
"You don't want to sound real with songs like this. You want to be real. That’s what I
strive for as a writer, and that's what we got in the playing."

Feeling their way through the process, these extraordinary participants -- guitarist
Guthrie Trapp, keyboardist Jimmy Wallace, bassist Viktor Krauss, drummer Lynn
Williams and singers Beth Nielsen Chapman, Ashley Cleveland and Darrell Scott,
Siobhan Kennedy and The McCrary Sisters -- probed and then brought life to Gauthier's
compositions. In their hands, and in her fearless vocals, the songs resonate like tolling

"This album reflects a total human experience. Love, loss, and a life transformed."
Gauthier sums up. "It's not a random collection of songs. This record is a story. It's
about trust and faith and believing that there's a plan and a flow. And the flow is where
the good stuff is because there's wisdom in the flow. At the core, we're all cut from the
same cloth-- the same dreams, the same brokenness, the same desire for
companionship and family and home. Yeah, we all have that. And if I don't go deep
enough into that, it's a problem. "There's no such thing as going too deep."Amen to that.

General Info

Band Members
vary from town to town
Artist Name
Mary Gauthier
Profile Page
Active Since
Americana / Folk / Folk Rock

Contact Info

Franklin, TN
Suite 5 Artists

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