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Mary Gauthier

Mercy Now – 2005 (Lost Highway)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier's music feels important. She doesn't shout and scream or use musical backing that reaches out and grabs the listener's attention. In fact, often her vocals are more like mournful speeches than singing. But it is both what she says and how she says it that will lead the listener to the idea that there are messages here worth considering. For "Wheel Inside the Wheel," she says: "Souls aren't born, souls don't die/Souls ain't made of water, ain't made 'a earth, ain't made of sky." Following her lyrics through this her fourth album and first for this label, it is apparent she crafts her message rather than penning it through some stream of consciousness method.

There's very little peppy of these 10 songs, but there's something solidly satisfying in getting immersed in both the material and the artist, whose life has been far from idyllic. When Gauthier writes and sings about wasted moments, hard times and a troubled mind, she's writing in first person. But even more important she's writing as if she's only concerned about an audience of one - you. She may never be a household name in terms of sales and widespread recognition, but that won't keep her from being an important voice in the singer/songwriter genre.