Saturday, May 27, 2023
“Writing helps me sort out confusion, untangle powerful emotions, and ward off desperation. It helps me navigate the powerful emotional
weather systems of life.” – Mary Gauthier, Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting
As she has so eloquently accomplished over the past 25 years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier has used her art once again to traverse the uncharted waters of the past few years. “I’m the kind of songwriter who writes what I see in the world right now,” she affirms. Thankfully, amid dark storms of pandemic loss, she found and followed the beacon of new love: Her gift to us, the powerful Dark Enough to See the Stars, collects ten sparkling jewels of Gauthier songcraft reflecting both love and loss.
Her eleventh album, Dark Enough to See the Stars, follows the profound antidote to trauma, Rifles & Rosary Beads, her 2018 collaborative work with wounded Iraq war veterans. It garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, as well as a nomination for Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association. Publication of her first book, the illuminating Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting, in 2021, brought her more praise. Brandi Carlile has said, “Mary’s songwriting speaks to the tender aspects of our humanness. We need her voice in times like these more than we ever have.” The Associated Press called Gauthier “one of the best songwriters of her generation.”
Gauthier’s early work, which began at 35, reflected her newfound sobriety, delving into events from a troubled life, which persisted after she became a renowned chef in Boston. Dark Enough to See the Stars returns Gauthier to the scintillating confessional mode on such albums as her breakthrough release, 2005’s Mercy Now, as well as such ear worms as the hook-laden “Drag Queens in Limousines.” In addition to crafting instantly memorable songs, Gauthier has never shied away from difficult self-exploration, as with 2010’s The Foundling, on which she explored the repercussions of her adoption from a New Orleans orphanage and subsequent search for her birth mother.
On Dark Enough to See the Stars, she mourns recent devastating losses: the deaths of John Prine, David Olney, Nanci Griffith, and her beloved friend Betsy. But she also sings open-heartedly of love. All ten tracks prove Gauthier’s belief, as stated in Saved by a Song, that “songs can bring us a deep understanding of each other and ourselves and open the heart to love.”