Review: The stars come out on Mary Gauthier’s new album
“Dark enough to see the stars”, Mary Gauthier (Thirty Tigers)
Mary Gauthier’s weekly livestreams on Sunday afternoons at the height of the pandemic felt very much like church, with confessions, contemplations and a welcome spirit of fellowship.
The rallies have offered balm to believers in the power of song, and Gauthier’s new album does the same, featuring tunes that came to life during lockdown and have been regularly featured on these shows. As the title might suggest, love trumps death in “Dark Enough to See the Stars,” but not without a struggle.
Gauthier’s bruised viola is the perfect instrument for his candid and thoughtful reflections on loss, healing and the need for hope. Her voice quivers and wobbles and slips, as if she never knew where the next note would land, but it’s still somewhere compelling. Among those who contributed to the moving and intelligent arrangements are keyboardist Danny Mitchell, violinist Michele Gazich and singer-guitarist Jaimee Harris, Gauthier’s partner.
Highlights include “Thank God for You,” a gospel-tinged celebration of love’s restorative qualities, and “How Could You Be Gone,” a heartbreaking slice of life and death. But from start to finish, Gauthier masterfully makes the personal universal. On “Truckers and Troubadours,” she lovingly establishes a connection between those who are “just passing through,” which would be all of us.
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