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Mary Gauthier

Trouble & Love – 2014 (In The Black)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier is an artist who will never be accused of not telling the truth and the artist's latest collection of songs, "Trouble and Love," is no exception. Inspired by Gauthier's real life heartbreak, the eight-track record follows the artist through the process of grieving over a lost relationship, highlighting with fine lyricism and rich, moody Americana soundscapes the good, the bad and the ugly.

Gauthier brought some method acting principles to the recording process, only taking her group of seasoned session players and backing players through a rough rehearsal and allowing them to create on the fly as the tape ran. The result is something that feels haunting, reserved and unsteady, but in a good way, reflecting the deep notes of pain and healing the lyrics speak to. And carrying it all forth are Gauthier's ever-fragile vocals, a twinge of twang rounding out the ends of lines that shine a light into her soul.

"When a Woman Goes Cold" leads off, Gauthier singing of a woman's mysterious emotional disconnect as warm, sweaty guitar licks and thudding percussion signal the end of a relationship while "False From True" relays the lost feelings that accompany a breakup as the artist sings, "Jagged edges, broken parts/You ended where I start/Got so tangled up in you/That I can't tell/The false from the true."

The title track covers the obvious, the fact that where love is, there trouble will be also, carried along by a gentle river of sound while "Oh Soul" mines some acoustic blues and folk as well as the tale of bluesman Robert Johnson. "Worthy" is a powerful song, almost sacred in its delivery yet bringing an irony to the word "worthy" as Gauthier's protagonist wrestles with her very worth, eventually coming to peace and rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

With "Walking Each Other Home" the lyric starts to show an understanding embrace of the heartbreak while poignant piano and organ lead and "How You Learn to Live Alone" fulfills that embrace as closure comes within the lyric, moody notes surrounded by bittersweet hope. Finally, with "Another Train," Gauthier reaches a conclusion of hope, "moving on through the pain and waiting on another train."

Resonating with authenticity through and through alongside powerful musicianship, this record marks another commendable milestone in the artist's musical journey.