Archive for the Mary Gauthier Category

Best of 2010: 18-16

Posted in Kasey Anderson, Mary Gauthier, Tim Lee 3, Top 21 of 2010 on December 18, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

#18 – Raucous Americanus by Tim Lee 3

The city of Knoxville produced some pretty astounding music this year.  That’s why I’m a little surprised that this two disc release from Tim Lee 3 is the only local album on this year’s list (apologies are due to Sam Quinn, R.B. Morris, Mic Harrison, Greg Horne, and Karen Reynolds among others).

Tim Lee is not a native Knoxvillian.  His roots reach further south where he first rose to prominence in Mississippi in the 80’s jangle pop band The Windbreakers.  Over his thirty year music career, Lee released a handful of records with The Windbreakers, toured as a member of his friend Mitch Easter’s band Let’s Active, and recorded a few solo albums.  He settled in Knoxville with his wife Susan Bauer Lee at the beginning of this past decade, and the two of them formed TL3 in 2006.  With Tim on guitars and vocals, Susan on bass and vocals, and Matt Honkonen on drums and vocals, the band has found something special on their third studio release.

Raucous Americanus is a rock record… two of them in fact.  It’s the only two-disc album to make the list.  The reason the record is so successful is that, even at 21 tracks and nearly an hour-and-a-half, it never feels like too much or becomes to familiar.  The songs were culled from three different recording sessions with three different producers in three different states.  Add to that the fact that Tim and Susan swap lead vocals from song to song, and there is enough variety to keep things fresh the whole way through.  From jangly pop to trippy Americana to full on rock, Tim Lee 3 released one of the most varied and satisfying albums of the year.

Tim Lee 3: Salty Tears (Buy Album)

#17 – Nowhere Nights by Kasey Anderson

I’ve told the story a couple of times now of how I first came across Kasey Anderson.  However, it’s time for me to stop talking about Anderson as the guy who I used to know as a fellow poster on the message boards at altcountrytab, and start talking about him only as a legitimate musician.  He’s earned that much for sure as the head of his own Red River Records label and a fine songwriter with five strong albums to his credit (and a new one coming in February).

At its core Nowhere Nights is a personal tale about a restless soul who has spent too much time in one place and needs to move on.  For Anderson, that place was Bellingham, WA, a place he lived for eight years and felt he had to leave.  At times, Anderson wistfully contemplates a tidy cutting of ties.  Other times, he seems ready to take a scorched earth approach and burn down everything around him.  Either way… he gets his point across.  Anderson lives in Portland now.

Update: Get a free sampler with three songs from Nowhere Nights and four songs from the new album at Anderson’s website.

Kasey Anderson: Bellingham Blues (Buy Album)

#16 – The Foundling by Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier is a veteran artist.  She’s released six studio albums, been the recipient of an Americana Music Award, and had her songs covered by artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Blake Shelton to Fred Eaglesmith.  She’s an accomplished chef who once ran her own restaurant in Boston, and she’s an accomplished musician who has played shows all over the country and all over the world.

Mary Gauthier is also an orphan.

That piece of information is central to her 2010 album The Foundling.  A deeply confessional album that is essentially Gauthier’s story told through song.  It deals with her journey as an orphan, her search for answers in her life, and her coming to grips with the answers she found and those she was denied.  It’s as personal an album as I’ve ever heard, and one that can be difficult to listen to at times due to the raw emotions involved.  It’s those emotions, however, that make the album great and worth spending time with.

Mary Gauthier: Goodbye (Buy Album)

Mary Gauthier: Interview and CD Giveaway

Posted in Mary Gauthier on June 14, 2010 by AmericanaPulse
Back in April, I reviewed Mary Gauthier’s new CD, The Foundling, in anticipation of her appearance on Tennessee Shines. The songs in this set are deeply personal accounts of Gauthier’s life growing up as an orphan. It’s the type of album that reveals a great deal of a very personal story and leaves the listener full of questions for the singer… questions that are more personal than musical.

You don’t come away from the album wondering how a certain guitar tone was achieved or how a particular song was created (although the album sounds great). You come away wondering how the artist’s experiences shaped the songs and how she found the strength to write them down and commit them to tape.

I recently had a chance to ask some of those questions to Mary Gauther. What follows is an interview with Gauthier conducted over email… my unedited questions and her unedited answers.

Read through to the end to find out how you can win a free copy of The Foundling!!

FiftyCentLighter: As a songwriter, you’ve always been able to write in a very confessional style where it feels as though you put a piece of yourself into each song. With this album, though, you’ve amplified that even more and basically laid out your life story in song. How does writing songs like the ones on this record differ from writing songs where you are more detached from the story? Do you ever find yourself pulling back from something you’ve written because it maybe reveals too much?

Mary Gauthier: Well, I always try to write from a naked place where I strip away the layers that cover the truth, so I can find the essence of what the song is trying to teach me. Often, songs are trying to teach me a truth about myself, but not always, sometimes a song teaches the truth about a situation or someone else. I am a student of truth, and my classroom is songwriting. I don’t see my writing as confessional, I see it as bare boned, undisguised. My songs can startle because in everyday life we try to avoid looking at certain aspects of ourselves. I am not confessing, I am revealing.

FCL: Even with the extremely personal nature of this album, it isn’t hard to imagine someone else who has gone through similar situations in their life being touched by your words and validated to hear that someone has shared their feelings and experiences. As I write this question, The Foundling has not yet been released, but you have been playing the songs live. Have you been approached by any fans who have been helped by listening to your songs?

MG: The Orphan is an archetype in literature and song because it is a reflection of the human condition. It is not unique in any way to tell an orphan story like mine. It’s just unique to tell it in contemporary songs. So people do get drawn into the story and often see themselves there because the orphan is a reflection of the human condition, in so many ways we are all orphaned here not sure where our home really is. The Carter Family sang “This World Is Not My Home” and I think that orphans can relate to that idea.

FCL: The emotional centerpiece of the album is “March 11, 1962.” This is the song that recounts the phone conversation you had with your birth mother upon finding her after years of searching. It’s a very moving piece, and one that still puts a lump in my throat when I hear it. The song does an excellent job of conveying the pain and anger you must have felt during that conversation… but it also attempts to portray the pain and regret her decision caused her over the years. How difficult was it to try to see things from her perspective for this song?

MG: I wrote March 11, 1962 many years after talking to my birth mother. The time and distance helped me to work thru all the emotions that I had to work thru to be able to understand her side of the story. I am glad I waited a while to write it, it would have been wrong to write it too soon.

FCL: One theme that keeps coming up on this record is a sense of disconnection with your past. A couple of tracks make reference to not knowing who you are or where you come from. Did writing this album help you find the answers to those questions… or did finding those answers help you to write this album?

MG: I do not know where I came from, adoptee’s rarely do. All I know is that my mothers side of the family came from somewhere in eastern Canada. I do not know who my father is, my mother will not tell me, and adoptee’s birth records are sealed in all but 6 states in the US. So that’s not something I will experience in this life, I will not know where I came from. It’s good to know some of the story though, and perhaps I will dig deeper one day.

FCL: What was it like working with Michael Timmins on this record? He seemed to bring some of that beautifully mellow Cowboy Junkies vibe with him to the project that worked very well. It just feels like a perfect marriage of producer and source material.

MG: Mike is wonderful to work with, a really intuitive guy. I love what he brought to the project.

FCL: Finally, to end the interview on a lighter note… Before you got into the music business, you ran your own restaurant in Boston. Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with my readers?

MG: I don’t have any recipes in my head anymore. I’ve been on the road now for over a decade, and the planes trains and automobiles have wiped out my chef’s memory, sorry!

Thanks to Mary Gauthier and the good people at Sneak Attack Media, I have a copy of The Foundling to giveaway to one lucky reader. All you have to do to register for the contest is leave a comment on this post, leave a comment on the Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz facebook page, or send an email with the subject “Gauthier Contest” to nelsonworth@hotmail.com. On Saturday, I’ll pick one winner at random from all the entrants.

Good luck… US residents only, please.

Random Weekend Post: Mary Gauthier

Posted in Mary Gauthier on June 12, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Coming up on Monday, I’ll be featuring an e-mail interview with Mary Gauthier about her new CD, The Foundling. I’ll also give you a chance to win a copy of the album.

To get you warmed up, here are a couple of classic Gauthier tunes from YouTube.