Rifles & Rosary Beads

Rifles & Rosary Beads

I was in a SW:S writing session a few weeks ago when Joe Costello, a young soldier, looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t know how to explain how I feel except to say my soul hurts.” Then he looked down, and there was a long silence.

We Are Not Alone: Lessons From 2014

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Hello and Happy New Year!

In 2014, I released Trouble and Love. I hand-carried my brand new record to 125 towns, playing my new songs in theatres, cafés, coffee shops, bars and on radio shows around the world. I led 9 songwriting workshops in 3 countries, participated in 4 Songwriting with Soldiers Retreats, and played the Grand Ole Opry 4 times. One of the highlights was sharing the lineup at The Opry with 10-year-old Fiddling Carson Peters, pictured here. What a year!

Now that I have been home resting for a few weeks, lessons from my travels are beginning to crystalize. I guess most of these have been building up inside me for years, but this is the first time I’ve sat down and made a lesson list. I look at them as gifts -- as the building blocks of wisdom.

Here are my Top 10 Lessons From 2014:

  1. There is no such thing as an ordinary life.
  2. Songs are more than songs--they are the great human connectors of our time.
  3. Songs transcend all manner of boundaries. They speak a universal language.
  4. Songs heal. They are pieces of the soul reaching through eternity, to heal the heart.
  5. Resonance is my/our deepest desire.
  6. An emotionally-true song resonates to the core, to the central, innermost, or most essential part of us.
  7. Emotional truth is not about the facts. It is about being genuine, authentic, and vulnerable.
  8. At our center, we are the same. Songs are conduits for compassion and empathy, a road map into a stranger’s heart, which upon inspection - mirrors our own heart.
  9. A three-and-a-half minute song can temporarily bring us us to a place that does not yet exist here on earth, a place where we are safe, connected, and of one heart.
  10. At their best, songs breathe life into a precious idea: that we are not alone, that other people have felt and feel the way we do, and that all of humanity is made of the same mysterious, electrical, spirit infused stardust. And songs are the people’s instrument of choice- to express the wonder of it all.

Thank you for joining me on my musical journey and for being a part of this community of song. I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2015!

~ Mary Gauthier

Photo: Mary Gauthier with 10-Year Old Fiddling Carson Peters, Backstage at The Grand Ole Opry, 9/13/14

Pre-Order Bettye LaVette's Worthy

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Beth Neilsen-Chapman and I are so proud to have co-written the title track, "Worthy," of Bettye LaVette's new studio album, to be released January 26th! Rightly known as one of the finest R&B/blues vocalists of our time, Bettye takes "Worthy" to a whole new level with her soulful and powerful interpretation, singing from the depths of her legendary voice. Hearing Bettye sing "Worthy" has been a truly gratifying experience. If ever there were a voice exactly right for this song, it's hers. What an honor for us, as songwriters, to have this experience.

Produced by Joe Henry, the album also features tracks written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, John Lennon & Paul McCartney and more.

The track listing for the album is: 1. Unbelievable 2. When I Was a Young Girl 3. Bless Us All 4. Stop 5. Undamned 6. Complicated 7. Where a Life Goes 8. Just Between You Me and the Wall You're a Fool 9. Wait 10. Step Away 11. Worthy

You can pre-order the album now via the links for both formats below.

Deluxe CD-DVD edition: http://hyperurl.co/7ljeiz CD edition: http://hyperurl.co/0caxh7

"Bettye is a voice from the wilderness." - Pete Townshend

"With every song on 'Worthy," Bettye finds the thread that first will unravel it. Then she stitches it all back together until it fits her taut frame and fierce stride, until it bends to meet her; until each song's story is somehow, miraculously, telling her own." - Joe Henry

Rolling Stone Lists Trouble & Love In Top Albums

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"These nine songs are well-crafted signposts along the path of a hard break-up. Trouble & Love winds from the stark goodbye of "When a Woman Goes Cold," to struggles with self-esteem in "Worthy" and finally suffering though the hard reality of "How You Learn to Live Alone." When Gauthier concludes "I'm moving on/Through the pain," the weathered reserve of her voice promises no happy endings. This is a songwriter who knows her titular subjects go together like a horse and carriage, and that the trouble doesn't subside when the love dies." Thank you, Rolling Stone, for including Trouble & Love in the Best 40 Country Albums of 2014!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Why Do Songs Matter?

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Most of life’s joy comes from love and connection, and most pain comes from love lost. In this, all of us are alike, and songs are a universal language that connects our hearts. Songs do matter, they’re important, and there’s nothing else nothing quite like them. They are our mother tongue. I was recently asked to write about why songs matter. I immediately think of Woody Guthrie’s guitar, with the saying, “This Machine Kills Fascists” hand-written on it. Woody believed singing truth to power is ultimately more persuasive than violence.

I also think about the soldiers I work with in the songwriting workshops, how writing a song about their war experience lifts a heavy weight off of their hearts. At the deepest level, songs can change lives. They help us heal. We can grab a song and say YES! LOOK! This is how I feel. Songs are human emotion dressed in melody and story. Songs express our hopes and dreams, our concerns, our playfulness, and they help us voice our values, anger, and frustrations.

Songs sing our truths, highlight our shared experiences, and help articulate the full range of human feelings. Songs can give us the hope we need, and the faith we are lacking when we are struggling. Songs see us, and we see ourselves in them. They don’t require an education to understand, they transcend language, race, age, sexual preference, nationality and religion, and they are timeless. When we feel a song deeply, we claim it as our own and can play it hundreds of times.

Songs can also be conduits for compassion and empathy, a road map into a stranger’s heart, which upon inspection - mirrors our own heart. Songs help us know each other and they also can plug us into the spiritual and sacred realm of faith, hope, compassion, mercy, charity, forgiveness and humility. Through the alchemy of song, even sad songs create the feeling of connection because we are reassured that we are not alone. Songs are what feelings sound like.

Why do songs matter to you?

"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Standing Ovations & Cold Sweat

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Somewhere along the way of my seven-week, five-country, 33-show tour of Europe, I started taking a picture of the audience after my bow, before I leave the stage, during the ovation. Ovations used to terrify me. When they first started happening in my career, fear crawled up my spine like electricity, cold sweat formed on my skin, and the need to run overtook me. I’d bow quickly, mumble a panicked, “Thanks y’all” and exit the stage as fast as I could.

Believe it or not, it was not easy to let in the applause. It frightened me, I wanted to shoo it away. It felt narcissistic, like too much ME, so self-indulgent it was embarrassing. I felt unworthy of it, I felt like a fraud, a fake.

I worked diligently to write songs that emotionally connected, but when they did their job, it unhinged me.

The third wall (that space separating the audience from the performance, traditionally an imaginary wall completing the enclosure of the stage) comes down in an ovation, and for that joyful moment, we are united, songwriter, musicians, listeners, as one.

An artist’s work is to be a conduit for human connection, and at the end of most nights’ work I can feel this oneness, alive in the room, in our hearts. Songs are bigger than songs; music is more than music.

Our lives all contain experiences we struggle to understand and come to terms with: tender wounds, concealed scars, unresolved longings, jagged fault lines. Songs speak in the mother tongue, the language of the human heart.

We are attracted to stories and songs because they help explain the mystery of why we exist and how we turned out the way we have. A great song is a friend, a travelling companion we take with us when we go.

We want to thank the songwriter for this gift, so we stand, and say Bravo! It’s giving back - a reciprocity.

However, I was not prepared for the audiences’ emotions, or my own. It took years to figure out how to accept the loving energy of an ovation with grace, and return it graciously. It eventually occurred to me that it’s not ME that I stand there for - it’s WE, US, all of us mortal, all of us vulnerable. Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that letting love in is in itself an act of love.

Amsterdam, Amstel Kirk, 2014

Looking at the ovation pictures later, back at the hotel room, it makes me happy to see the smiling faces of the people standing up, sending love, joy-- beautiful LIFE energy. I can look it in the eyes now, and allow it in, send it back out, and embrace the moment without fear.

To reach for the stars, and not for the hand next to mine, is to miss the point of being an artist.

Thank you all for letting me, the kid who did not know how to be loved, grow up in front of you. It's an amazing journey.

The Power of Truth

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Monday night I played a beautiful listening room called Morris Hall in the medieval town of Shrewsbury, England, the town that Charles Darwin was born in. I’m at the beginning of a seven-week tour of the UK and Europe, where I’ll be enjoying the stages of fine theatres in five different countries. It’s hard to believe that I’m the same person who used to be terrified of the stage, mortified…petrified…. The first time I played music on stage in front of an audience, a cold, clammy sweat formed on my forehead and upper lip, then spread down to my hands and fingers. My legs started shaking, and the trembling spread to my arms and the rest of my body. My saliva evaporated, and the inside of my mouth and throat became so dry I could have spit dust. My heart raced like galloping horses, pounding was all I could hear, and I came close to having a panic attack and bolting.

I was 35 years old and beginning to pursue a dream I’d had since I was a teenager, but it was a dream I’d never spoken out loud. I’d held it inside so deep that I forgot it was there, entombed and silent, covered by years of feeling of unworthy. I ignored it, buried it, and set off to do other things. It was a secret dream so dear to me that I dared not speak it—it would break my heart if it didn’t come true, so not acknowledging it was a way of trying to protect myself from disappointment. My secret? I wanted to be a songwriter.

I got sober at 28 years old, and my long buried truth started rising to the surface, asking to be reconsidered.

I carried my tangled, repressed dream onto the stage with me that first night, and it was too heavy to maneuver delicately. I buckled under the weight of it. I forgot the words, chords, and melody. I fought the impulse to run and survived my less than impressive debut, and became determined to get on stage again and do it better, but the terrors followed me, and stage fright choked me every time I got on stage. I was determined to find a way to overcome it, but over and over, I’d take the stage, plug in my guitar, and completely freak out.

MaryGauthier_2It was a cold New England February night when I encountered a lesson in songwriting that helped me begin the process of breaking free from the stage fright horrors I suffered. I’d been playing songs at open mics for a year or so at this point, working hard to develop thicker skin--practicing the song I was going to play, over and over and over again. But once I left my living room for the stage, the terror always returned.

On this particular night, I was one of almost 100 people signed up to play the open mic at a venue outside of Boston called the Old Vienna Coffeehouse. Each songwriter was allowed to play one song. I drew a late number, real late. About two hours in, still waiting for my turn to play, a farmer type fellow took the stage with his guitar. He was much older than most of us, and quite heavy, in overalls and a ragged red checkered shirt buttoned up to his neck, a dilapidated straw hat with a hole in it, and dirty work boots. He was so big that it made his guitar look tiny.

No one cared when he started to play - we were waiting to play our own songs and get out of there. People tried not to groan as he stood on stage with his eyes closed, banged his guitar into the instrument mic during the first verse of his song, and sang in a shaky voice. The audience started talking loudly, ignoring him. But when he got to the words of his chorus, the entire room went silent. His words sliced through our indifference like a razor blade, we forgot our boredom, our impatience, ourselves. His honesty made us drop our judgment of his appearance and his limited musical ability. His song sucked all that scattered energy out of the room, focused us, and sang us to a sacred place. The Truth. He was singing about the loss of his wife, about how he felt now that she was gone.

“I’m gonna walk in the water 'til my hat floats away.”

All eyes were on him. Many were filled with tears. We believed him. He was telling us his truth in the way that made us feel our own. Our hearts opened, our eyes opened. And I learned…yes, finally, I got it, THIS is what my job is. Honest songs tell us what it means to be human, and it doesn’t matter who sings them, they are beautiful. From then on, to this very day, that’s what I try to do when I get on stage. Quit sweating the small stuff. Tell the truth, don’t worry about what people think about me, just be honest, and it’ll all work out.

Hello from Kansas

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Kansas. A state I was once thrown out of! When I was a seventeen-year old kid, I was living in a halfway house in Salina. I got a job driving cars through the carwash in the dead of winter, spraying off ice and salt from the cars, washing them down with a pressure washer, then driving them through the mechanical car wash. I had sticky fingers then, and I grabbed change, 8-track tapes, and in one case, a bottle of pills from a Catholic priest's long, white sedan.

I was arrested for my criminal ways the day before my 18th birthday, and put in the Salina County Jail. I spent my birthday in solitary, my only visitor a sweet little church lady, who came to pray and sing with me. I’ll never forget her kindness. I was so glad to see her it made me cry. Eventually, the police told me that if I left Salina and never came back, they’d let me out and they would drop the charges. That was 35 years ago, and this is my first time back to Salina. I will be performing a benefit for Central Kansas Foundation, “a provider of quality, effective, and innovative substance use disorder prevention and treatment since 1967.” Full circle, right? Glad to make my return for a good cause!


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Also in my news, I’ve been playing at The Grand Ole Opry quite a bit lately, and having a great time asking folks to join me on stage. Here’s a video of Another Train at The Opry, with Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, and Radney Foster. And, I'll be back at The Opry again on September 13.  C'mon by.


SamMaryBanner I’ll be on the road in the mid-west from September 14-20, sharing the stage with my dear friend Sam Baker. Our tour dates are all on my Tour Page. And for a little taste, you can order the Limited Edition Mary & Sam 7" vinyl with download included! Order it RIGHT HERE. And there are plenty of Europe dates coming up, as I head to the UK, Netherlands, Norway and Italy. Hope to see you out there! Check out my Tour Schedule, I could be headed your way.

Songwriting with Soldiers

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I’ve been teaching a lot this year, as well as  Songwriting Songs With Soldiers, writing songs with vets returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. When my friend, SWS founder Darden Smith, asked me to join him, I wondered what would happen if you put 15 soldiers and 4 professional songwriters in a retreat center for 2 1/2 days, and asked them to write songs together, with the sole purpose of getting the veterans to open up and talk about their time in the service, so the songwriters could turn their soldiers stories into songs.  Well, I am now a songwriter who has had the great honor of writing with soldiers in that scenario, and what I learned in the process of working with the vets, has helped me to understand what songs are truly for, what songs have the power to do in the world. Working with the soldiers has helped me to understand my job as a songwriter on a much deeper level than any work I’d done in the music business prior.

Here’s what I learned.

Songs build bridges over broken human connections.

They help bring us back in when we are removed, show us that we are not alone. They reassure us that our deepest fears --that no one has ever felt the way I do before, that no one could understand what I am going through, that I am totally and utterly alone -- are not true. We humans are so very much alike on the inside, and songs announce to the world our universal human condition, through their lyrical and melodic expressions of how we feel. They are timeless, weightless, and can’t be seen, but they are the great human connectors, and when you recognize yourself in a song, you know you are not alone.

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 Songs are what feelings sound like. 

I’ve come to see songwriting as the process of a soul trying to heal a heart. It’s that simple, and that mysterious. Songs come from a spiritual place, a place outside of our conscious understanding. They come up from our subconscious, from another world, a beautiful world that artists reach for and point to in all the arts.

Songwriters often speak of songs coming through them, not from them. The great songwriter Harlan Howard  (I Fall To Pieces, Busted) used to say, “I don’t write them, I just write them down.” We songwriters are the lightening rods, not the lightening. Sure, we must work hard, and let me tell you, it’s a real job, but in the end, we are students working inside the schoolhouse of a mighty mystery. And what we are doing, our highest contribution, is to help ourselves, and others, heal.

Songwriting is empathy, for self and for others.

Songs are a soul expressing itself.  Songs are like white blood cells, coagulants for the heart/soul. They come rushing in when there is a wound. Songs often come to a songwriter to help heal emotional blows so low that their frequencies reverberate in a body and soul for a lifetime.

At their best, Songs are not products for a market place. They are spiritual medicine for a world gone wrong. Humans can get out of sync with each other, out of rhythm. Trauma does this to us in an instant, removes us from our life, and it removes us from each other. Songs can help us return.

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Songs make beauty out of the beast.

The soldiers came to the retreat wounded, inside. Removed. Traumatized. I doubt you can live through combat without being traumatized. War is traumatic. Songs are a way past a menacing babble of closed frontiers, into the possibility of mutual comprehension. Deep resonance with each other is possible, when we sing together, and our hearts are one in song. Songs help re-set the balance, in the direction of connection, truth, and freedom.

But by their nature, soldiers don’t like to talk about what they have been through. Silence is a soldier’s code of honor. Soldiers never speak of their world, those who have seen combat do not talk about it. Those who talk about it have not seen combat. The soldiers knew what they signed up for, and coming out the other side of it alive is enough. They don’t want to discuss what they’ve seen, what they’ve done. No need to share the details with civilians. Soldiers don’t want to tell their stories to people who have not been there. Soldiers talk to soldiers, if they talk at all.

So asking a soldier to talk to songwriters is a stretch, but that’s what we were up to at that retreat center, and the goal was to get a song written for every solider there. After the initial hellos and small talk, we got down to business. The first soldiers I spoke to seemed very close, two women vets, who sat close, whispered thoughts into each others ears, held each others arms, gave off the body language of two people who were very committed to their friendship, who had been through a lot together. I asked them if they were battle buddies, and the answer I got became my first song I wrote with soldiers. 

“We have each other’s 6.”

“What? What’s that?” I asked.

“You know,” the soldier said, without emotion.

“I got her back. She’s got mine. On the battlefield, 6 o’clock is always behind you, 12 o’clock in front. To have someone’s 6 is to have their back.”

And in wartime, to have someone’s 6 means you’d die for them. When the weight of that hit me, I knew I was entering another world now, a world I knew nothing about. I got my first glimpse into Soldier’s world, a world where people die for each other. This is what soldiers do, it is their duty, commonplace, not astonishing. In order to survive, soldiers must be willing to die for one another. And part of their deep bond is the survivor’s guilt, the aching memories of those they’ve lost, they carry that weight everywhere they go.

Through the healing mystery of song, we were able to tap into their stories, the ones we were told, and the ones we were not told. We managed to get a song written for every soldier, all 15 of them. As we played them their songs, the soldiers faces opened up, their eyes lit up, their hearts opened up. They sang with us, we cried together, we laughed together, we saw each other’s hearts. We connected. And in this connection, with the songs recorded for them to take with them and keep forever, I think we were able, through song, to bring a few soldiers a little closer to home.

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I Got Your 6 by Mary Gauthier, Meghan Counihan, Britney Pfad

6 clock’s always behind you 6 o’clock on the battlefield 6 o’clock is black as gun smoke At 6 o’clock our deal is sealed

No need to talk or testify Just keep your story tucked inside No a savior on a crucifix Look in my eyes I got your 6

 6 o’clock the world falls silent 6 o’clock the guilt remains 6 o’clock the breath goes sour At 6 o’clock I’ll hold your pain

 No need to talk or testify Just keep your story tucked inside No a savior on a crucifix Look in my eyes I got your 6 At 6 o’clock I will defend you At 6 o’clock just call my name At 6 o’clock I’d die for you And I know you’d do the same

6 o’clock’s always behind you 6 o’clock on a battlefield 6 o’clock is black as gun smoke At 6 o’clock our deal is sealed

@2014 All rights reserved.

 I Got your 6 can also be heard on SoundCloudicon_sc

Mary Gauthier on Fresh Air, with Terry Gross

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I was in the studio with Terry Gross a few weeks ago, and got to experience first hand her charisma, razor sharp intelligence, and generosity of spirit. She is an American treasure, one of the best interviewers on the air today, and a media giant. It was my great pleasure to sit with her and talk for an hour. Here is a link to the interview. Click on the image below, and it will bring you there, to the Fresh Air broadcast.

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: WHEN A WOMAN GOES COLD

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I could forgive you, even your cruelty, if it were not for your calm.” ― G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

“You overrate my capacity of love. I don't possess half the warmth of nature you believe me to have. An unprotected childhood in a cold world has beaten gentleness out of me.” ― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

I said to her, “Even though you knew you were getting a divorce, that it was over, wasnʼt there love left in your heart for him?” She said, “No. None at all.” I said, “ After 25 years of marriage? Two and a half decades of sharing a bed, a home, a life, two children? There was no love in your heart for him at all?” She said, “None. I was done with him. I felt nothing. It was over. That is all.”

Seems as though women have a switch in their hearts, and when it switches off, thereʼs nothing that can be done. What was once warm becomes cold, what was once tender become callous. The switch does not time travel backwards or forwards and cannot be undone. Time has no effect on it. The enormity of the change in temperature is bewildering at first, hard to believe. After initial confusion, amazement bubbles up. Awe. Then the inevitable despair, sorrow and surrender to the new reality. Where once was love: spiders and dust. Where once was connection: ice and chill. This is what happens When a Woman Goes Cold.

This song is a co-write with Gretchen Peters.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Hammond - Jimmy Wallace

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

 

LYRICS: WHEN A WOMAN GOES COLD

She didn’t get mad, she didn’t even cry She lit a cigarette and said goodbye I must a’ missed a sign, I missed a turn somewhere I looked in her eyes, I saw a stranger there

It’s the way she’s made it’s a natural fact Once she’s really gone, she can’t come back Ain’t no wedding dress ain’t no band of gold Gonna keep her there, when a woman goes cold

You’re no longer her concern Scorched earth cannot burn It’s out of your control when a woman goes cold She won’t give an inch she won’t be convinced Ain’t no mercy in her soul when a woman goes cold

I wish she’d scream and shout, I wish she’d slam a door I wish she’d curse my name like she’s done before But she looks through me like I’m not there And I’m dying here, and she just don’t care

You’re no longer her concern Scorched earth cannot burn It’s out of your control when a woman goes cold She won’t give an inch she won’t be convinced Ain’t no mercy in her soul when a woman goes cold When a woman goes cold, when a woman goes cold When a woman goes cold when a woman goes cold

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Gretchen Peters

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: FALSE FROM TRUE

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My mama used to say “Your father has me so confused that I don’t know my ass from my elbow." When I was a kid, I didn’t know what she was trying to tell me. Today, it makes perfect sense.

Intense emotion piled on top of intense emotion over time… leads to utter confusion. My parent’s marriage was a roller coaster ride that ended in divorce after 20 turbulent years, and the turmoil involved in its slow demise ended up leaving us all discombobulated. Clarity came, but it took years.The battles of human love going bad -- the fog of war-- layers of shifting emotional sands, leave the mind in disarray. We end up upside down, spinning round, reaching for what was just there and is now nowhere to be found.What’s real now? What’s not? Who am I? Who are you? What were we? What are we now? In the thick of it, these are unanswerable questions. 'Till the roller coaster stops and till the dust clears, you just can’t tell False From True.

This song is a co-write with my good friend, Beth Nielsen Chapman.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Piano, Hammond - Jimmy Wallace Background Vocals - Beth Nielsen Chapman

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

 

LYRICS: FALSE FROM TRUE

Jagged edges broken parts Where you end and where I start Got so tangled up in you I can’t tell false from true You woke up inside a cage I woke up consumed with rage A million miles from our first kiss How does love turn into this?

A stranger showed up in your eyes Hard as steel, cold as ice I tried and tried but I could not break through There’s two of you and one don’t feel And I don’t know which one is real Loving you has left me black and blue I can’t tell false from true

Where’d you go where are you now? Can you feel my heart somehow? Still so full of love you But it can’t tell false from true

A stranger showed up in your eyes Hard as steel, cold as ice I tried and tried but I could not break through There’s two of you and one don’t feel And I don’t know which one is real Loving you has left me black and blue I can’t tell false from true I can’t tell false from true

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Beth Nielsen Chapman

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: TROUBLE AND LOVE

http://youtu.be/5_vzGnX60eY Some things go together naturally. There is inevitability in their coupling. Things like beans and rice, peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, wine and cheese, bread and butter. Cake and icing, syrup and pancakes, peaches and cream, sugar and spice. Bacon and eggs, spaghetti and meatballs, salt and pepper, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, macaroni and cheese. Chips and salsa, cereal and milk. Thunder and lightening, fire and rain. Ebony and ivory, fork and knife, nuts and bolts. Lock and key, brush and comb, silver and gold. Spring and rain. Rock and roll, fire and brimstone. Moon and stars. And for all the obvious reasons...

Trouble and Love

This song is a co-write with my good pal, Scott Nolan.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Piano, Hammond - Jimmy Wallace Background Vocals - Ashley Cleveland, Darrell Scott and Beth Nielsen Chapman

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

LYRICS: TROUBLE AND LOVE

At the Downtowner, near the Roosevelt Baths Forty-eight fifty if you pay in cash Spanish television up through the floor Desk clerk don’t look up when I walk by anymore

Blizzard outside, blizzard in her heart Lonely travelers and cheap motel art Snow is falling on snow that fell on snow I said hold on baby please don’t let go

Trying to catch my breath, she moved so fast Rumble strips, red lights, broken glass Twisted steel, sirens, and blood Love and trouble, trouble and love

A head full of dreams, a chest full of hurt Friends say walk on; it’s more trouble than it’s worth But my will is gone and my head hangs low It ain’t the leaving, it’s the way you go

Trying to catch my breath, she moved so fast Rumble strips, red lights, broken glass Twisted steel, sirens, and blood Love and trouble, trouble and love Love and trouble, trouble and love Love and trouble, trouble and love Love and trouble, trouble and love

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Scott Nolan

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: OH SOUL

http://youtu.be/ioRWWfd_Q4w Did Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers who died at age 27, really sell his soul to the devil at the Crossroads? And did Satin come to collect his debt? What does it mean to sell your soul? Can you actually, literally, sell your soul? Robert Johnson played street corners and juke joints. He was ever roaming and ever lonely. He wrote songs that romanticized the traveling life and became a musical hero to musicians who followed in his footsteps. With unprecedented intensity, he transformed his life’s hardships into poetic heights- and mined deep emotional depths. He made beauty out of pain. Johnson took the intense loneliness, terrors and tortuous circumstances that came with being an African-American in the South in the Depression, and transformed his personal experience into music of universal relevance. If anyone would understand the sorrow of selling one’s soul, it would be Robert Johnson. So a visit to his grave, searching for redemption, in solidarity and prayer, in hopes of connecting with the spirit of a fellow traveller during a hard time, a time of deep questioning, well, it just makes sense…

This song is a co-write with my very talented singer/songwriter friend, Ben Glover.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Piano - Jimmy Wallace

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

 LYRICS: OH SOUL 

Black clouds blowing ‘cross a blustery sky Black clouds blowing ‘cross a blustery sky South of Highway 7 all alone crying Oh soul I sold you away

When you sell your soul it opens a deep dark hole When you sell your soul it opens a deep dark hole Drink ‘ll leave you thirsty fire ’ll leave you cold Oh soul I sold you away

Oh my soul I sold you away oh my soul I sold you away Oh my soul I sold you away oh soul I sold you away

It started with desires sweet soft kiss It started with desires sweet soft kiss Ended in an alley with my face against a fist Oh soul I sold you away

Oh my soul I sold you away oh my soul I sold you away Oh my soul I sold you away oh soul I sold you away

Redemption, redemption have mercy on me Redemption, redemption have mercy on me A body’s but a prison when the soul’s a refugee Oh soul I sold you away

I’m pulling into Greenwood to get down on my knees Pulling into Greenwood to get down on my knees By Robert Johnson’s grave pray my soul back to me Oh soul I sold you away

Oh my soul I sold you away oh my soul I sold you away Oh my soul I sold you away oh soul I sold you away

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Ben Glover

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: WORTHY

http://youtu.be/jhXeMPzTdjkI’ve always been drawn to the metaphor of the Phoenix rising, because it brings with it a blessed grace, a new kindness, a new sense of purpose, and a passionate self worth. The new bird is on a mission. From the ashes of a perfect defeat comes a new life. Fire, death, renewal, rebirth and the beginning of a new life-- ashes into flame. But how does a Phoenix rising from the ashes find its wings? What is the process by which deep and mighty blows deepen us, open us, make us better people? How does calamity and deep pain create deep empathy? These are big questions, and I am not the one to answer them here. It is a mystery, this sacred conversion of one form of life energy into another. But I know this-- a fundamental change in character, transformation, can happen after annihilation of life as we knew it. On the other side of wretched: Worthy.

This song is a co-write with my dear, multi-talented friend, Beth Nielsen Chapman.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Piano - Jimmy Wallace Slide Guitar - Darrell Scott Background Vocals - Darrell Scott and Beth Nielsen Chapman

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

LYRICS: WORTHY

It took a mighty blow to crack me to the core To finally come to know I could ask for more I’ve wondered all my life, why I felt so alone Trying to survive, how could I have known?

Worthy, worthy, what a thing to claim Worthy, worthy ashes into flame Worthy

Left stumbling in the dark, I had to go within So I traced my scars, back to where I’d been A diamond in the dirt, perfectly concealed Down beneath the hurt, it’s been so hard to feel

Worthy, worthy, what a thing to claim Worthy, worthy ashes into flame Worthy

I walked through a wall of fire Left behind the only life I knew No way back, no place to hide When a voice came through

Worthy, worthy, what a thing to claim Worthy, worthy ashes into flame Worthy

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Beth Nielsen Chapman

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TROUBLE AND LOVE: WALKING EACH OTHER HOME

http://youtu.be/-clukLFabq8 When the first shadows start to fall at the end of the day, when the early stars begin to twinkle, in that tiny window between daylight and dark when the cicadas and crickets start to sing, my heart can get a little heavy. Something deep inside my chest sinks, but then, a moment later, something else rises. I’ve never really been able to nail down the exact words but sorrow/hope comes close. As I let go of the day and lean into the night, there’s shift that moves from sadness to a certain kind of faith, an embracing of the night, trusting in the hand that guides what’s next. If I stay still and listen, these thoughts and feelings can lead to a conscious realization of my mortality, and an awareness of those souls who have passed on. We are here for only a short while, and what if our journey in this life is about learning to give and receive love?

What if our struggle with love is the way, the only way… we learn to love better? If you believe that your soul is traveling through this world but bound for elsewhere, if you believe that maybe we are called to be more than strangers fighting for our own survival, if you believe that just as others have mattered to you, you might in turn matter to others no matter the struggles you’ve had, then maybe you’ll agree that we are all just Walking Each Other Home.

Walking Each Other Home, was written with my good friend Gretchen Peters, and is one of three collaborations with Gretchen on this album.

Lead Vocal, Acoustic Guitar - Mary Gauthier Electric Guitar - Guthrie Trapp Upright Bass - Viktor Krauss Drums - Lynn Williams Piano - Jimmy Wallace Background Vocals - Ashley Cleveland, Darrell Scott and the McCrary Sisters

Produced by Mary Gauthier and Patrick Granado ©2014 Mary Gauthier/In the Black Records

LYRICS: WALKING EACH OTHER HOME

I’m just now getting round to letting go But you had your suitcase packed a long time ago The road got rough and you got ahead of me I tried to pull you back, now I know you had to leave

We put each other through a world of hurt Maybe that’s the way it is on this side of the dirt Nobody wants to be alone I hope you’re happy now, I heard you found someone

I don’t know how this story’s supposed to go I don’t know a lot of things that other people know But it ain’t about the money, ain’t about who’s right or wrong We’re all just walking each other home

Somewhere between Cain and Able, that’s where we live It’s only human to take more than you give To reach for a fix to fill you up Take away the pain oh but that’s not love

I don’t know how this story’s supposed to go I don’t know a lot of things that other people know It ain’t about the money ain’t about who’s right or wrong We’re all just walking each other home

Ain’t for me to say what’s bad or good In the end I know we did the best we could

I don’t know how this story’s supposed to go I don’t know a lot of things that other people know It ain’t about the money ain’t about who’s right or wrong We’re all just walking each other home

©2013 Mary Gauthier/Gretchen Peters

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