GRAMMY NOMINATION!

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Rifles & Rosary Beads Nominated for GRAMMY Award
in the Best Folk Album Category

This collaborative collection of songs came about because of the tireless efforts of Darden Smith, Mary Judd, and the entire team of SongwritingWith:Soldiers. They invited me into their visionary non-profit work, and changed my life. They are my teachers, along with the brave Veterans and their families who were willing to go on record, literally, with their stories. It takes courage to be a soldier, and it takes courage to tell the truth about the effects of war on your life, your family and your soul.

I am but the midwife here, a witness to layers and layers of bravery. The producer of this record, Neilson Hubbard, brought the songs to life, hired an amazing band, and made it easy on me by bringing his studio to my house.

My publicists, Jim Flammia, Donica Elliot, and Michelle Steele All Eyes Media carried the story of these out into the world, and they kicked ass.

Michele Gazich convinced me this was a good idea to pursue and gave me the courage to take it on.

And my love, Jaimee Harris, makes every single day on earth better.

I am richly blessed, and deeply grateful.

Thank you to all who have supported this project!
And congrats to all the artists nominated along side us!

https://www.billboard.com/…/…/2019-grammy-nominees-full-list

Bluegrass Underground Episode Airing Now

Our episode of the Emmy-Award Winning Season VIII Bluegrass Underground is premiering now on PBS. Set your DVRs and check your local listings!

https://goo.gl/UntYva http://www.bluegrassunderground.com/pbs

You can also watch the episode, streaming on PBS.org at

http://www.pbs.org/bluegrass-underground/season-8/.

Thanks again to everyone at Bluegrass Underground for hosting us!

Hangin' & Sangin' Podcast

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"Music can provoke thoughts and heal wounds by building empathy and understanding through song. This is the highest calling of the art." 
- Mary Gauthier

Hangin' & Sangin' Podcast

I had the recent privilege of sitting down with music journalist Kelly McCartney in Nashville and talking about my songwriting work with the veterans.


Our "Hangin' & Sangin'" Podcast is available now!

LISTEN TO PODCAST

Practicing Empathy

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While I was at the British Airways counter in Nashville checking into my flight to Milan to begin my Europe tour, an elderly woman lost control of her suitcase on the escalator behind me. Her cane fell out of her hand, she fell forward, then tumbled three quarters of the way down the moving stairs. Someone below figured out how to hit the escalator’s stop button as she was falling, and when it stopped, a small group of people instinctively rushed up the stairs to help her as she laid in a bloody heap three quarters of the way down.

I saw the scene from two floors above. There was blood, a lot of blood.

A small group of people held the injured woman in their arms on the stopped escalator, applying pressure to the spots on her gashed head and body, trying to slow the bleeding. Someone else called an ambulance.
 
I did not watch for long, the group of strangers below were helping, and it felt wrong for me to stare at the awful scene. There was nothing I could do. As I turned away to make my way to my gate, tears came. I had a hard time controlling my emotions.

My girlfriend grabbed my hand, told me the woman would be taken to a hospital, and she'd be patched up. She was going to be all right. She would not be traveling for a while, but she would be all right. As my partner consoled me, I struggled to contain my tears. We walked slowly to our gate.

To watch a frail person fall down and get seriously hurt is heart breaking. This kind of raw human vulnerability and helplessness is devastating to witness. Then to see stranger’s immediately rushing in to help, and to have a partner whose hand immediately reached for mine, reminded me that while we live in a dark time of division and rage, we human beings are also programmed for empathy and loving kindness for each other. This brought me to the brink of weeping. Kindness and empathy are as vital to our survival as food and water.

The elderly woman who fell down the escalator was probably someone’s mother, someone’s grandmother. The kind strangers who rushed up the moving stairs to help her, acting on a primal impulse to love, were in some ways sitting in for the old woman’s children, grandchildren, husband. Her loved ones, who were not there to help her at her most fragile moment, needed surrogates. Strangers did the job of family, until family could be summoned. I am certain that her family is grateful for their help.

We are all vulnerable, fragile, visitors to this planet, hanging out for a short while in flesh and blood human bodies. We are all aging daily - as are our parents and our grandparents. Time moves us all closer and closer to frailty every single day.

In Holland, I was able to return to the the KRÖLLER-MÜLLER MUSEUM for the second time. The Kröller-Müller Museum boasts the second-largest Vincent van Gogh collection in the world: almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings. The van Gogh Gallery displays varying selections of about 40 works by Vincent van Gogh. As I walked through the gallery and took in the masters work again, what struck me most this time was his ability to convey deep empathy in his paintings. He makes us feel what he feels. He does it with brush strokes, use of colour, and deep feeling. Generating empathy, to me, is the higher purpose of art. Vincent wrote to his brother Theo, "Real painters do not paint things as they are ...They paint them as they themselves feel them to be.” This, I believe, is what artists do.

We do need each other. Even now, (especially now), as hatred and division on our screens and in our politics try and convince us that it is not true.

I am going to hang on, hang in. Try to stay with love. I hope you will too.

Rifles & Rosary Beads Documentary Premiere

Rifles & Rosary Beads Documentary Premiere

Hello y'all! We premiered Neilson Hubbard and Josh Britt's Rifles & Rosary Beads Short Documentary in the Westin ballroom during AmericanaFest, and the great LA Times Pop Music Writer Randy Lewis interviewed me in front of an audience after the movie ended. 

The Rifles & Rosary Beads Short Documentary is now up on YouTube, so please have a look and share with your friends. I am so proud of how the documentary turned out. Please let me know what you think!

Rifles & Rosary Beads (a short documentary) is a twenty-minute film about the power and beauty of turning war trauma into art. The documentary tells the story of Mary Gauthier's experience of co-writing with Veterans and their families through the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program.

Each co-written song is a glimpse inside the heart and soul of a Veteran (or military spouse). The service member's words and stories bring listeners deep into the harrowing effects of war. Written honestly from a vulnerable place, the songs generate empathy and understanding, even if the viewer has no experience with combat and the effects of war on the human spirit.


The process of co-writing the songs is deeply therapeutic for both the Veteran and the songwriter, but it's not therapy. It's the making of art.

"Military Veterans Find a Voice" on Rifles & Rosary Beads

Welcome to my August Newsletter!

Recently nominated for The Americana Music Association's Album of the Year Award, Rifles & Rosary Beads features 11 songs that I co-wrote with combat veterans and their spouses.

As I head back out on the road for tour dates in Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado this month, we are excited to debut the video and share the story behind the title track of Rifles & Rosary Beads, co-written by Iraq War Veteran Joe Costello.


I was in a SongwritingWith:Soldiers writing session when Joe, a young Veteran from the war in Iraq, 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. I waited, I hesitated, I let the silence linger. I tried to take in the bigness of what he had just told me. After a few moments, I asked him how he deals with that feeling, how other soldiers deal with that. He said everyone has their own way of dealing, but in Iraq there were a lot of white knuckles holding rifles tightly, and plenty of other fingers rolling rosary beads in circles, over and over again.

As he spoke, I heard the title "Rifles and Rosary Beads." So I suggested we write a song with that title. We worked on it for about two hours, and I sang the title line and the chorus over and over, adding new words and adjusting words each time. I asked him to tell me when I got the words right, and when I got them wrong. As we worked, his detached posture changed and his demeanor shifted. He became engaged.

His head would nod when I got it right, I'd ask him more questions, he'd supply the answers and I'd work on making them rhyme, and sing them back to him. His head nodded faster as the song developed, his eyes lit up, and his lips (that had been firmly set in a straight line the entire weekend) began to ease into a small, shy smile around the corners of his mouth. When I missed what he was trying to say he'd correct me, and this would open him up to new stories, new feelings. We found a flow and rode it. We reached a point where what he was saying was overwhelming to both of us, and I put down my guitar and broke down. I looked up and he was crying too. As the emotion moved through us and we regained composure, I wrote down a summary of his words and sang them back to him, and we kept going.

His song had taken shape, and when we were done, I asked him to close his eyes, and I played the whole song to him, softly. Though the song was intense, and the story a difficult one, we both stood up and instinctively high fived after the last note rang out.

We knew we'd nailed it, and though the song is sad, we did the touchdown dance together. It was a beautiful, joyful moment. The relief on his face at the end of the writing session was as if time had reversed itself inside his brain. His demeanor had softened. He looked younger and more alive. I asked him how his soul was feeling now.

He had tears in his eyes, and said he wanted to hug me. I closed my computer, put down my guitar, opened my arms and we embraced. He gave me an enormous hug, the kind a child would give. The song had broken through walls of separation, and gave him a small ray of hope. The song provided something he could hold onto, a small rung on the ladder to help him pull himself up with.

LISTEN TO SONG - CLICK HERE

Why must anyone "soldier on" when we now know that is a destructive and dangerous route, especially for soldiers themselves? We all need each other, and songs are a wonderful way of creating human connection. Songs can bring us out of isolation and into the beauty and mystery of being alive on a planet full of other living souls.

What I have learned is that the dominant narrative of a wounded person's life can be rewritten into a narrative of healing by a song. This happens not by trying to write a healing song, but by simply writing the truth, by singing the emotional truth. Giving voice to the silence, being seen and heard and known, is transformative. It helps undo the shame that always comes with trauma.

While the experience is cathartic, it's also transcendent in that the song is a move beyond the self toward others. The song serves as a catalyst for transformation, healing by engaging a re-description of self. It moves the frozen story along, thaws it, and releases some of the infection. It opens up channels of resonance with others who have felt the same way, or who have the ability to relate with empathy and compassion.

Songs have the power to change lives. As it turns out, every soldier's song is a prayer for peace.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

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"With Singer Mary Gauthier, Military Veterans Find A Voice"

"My passion has collided with purpose."

CLICK HERE TO READ NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

7/4/18: Heroes in Harmony: CBS This Morning Feature

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We are thrilled to announce that CBS This Morning aired "Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song" again on Wednesday, July 4th. The live update included veteran Josh Geartz out of his wheelchair, and walking!

Originally aired on March 21st, 2018, the CBS This Morning piece features my work with co-writer Josh Geartz and the
SongwritingWith:Soldiers Program that has helped so many veterans tell their stories through song.

"Although there are a lot of therapy programs for veterans suffering from PTSD, only a few use professional musicians to achieve dramatic results. One group is turning wounded warriors into songwriters and helping them heal - one song at a time."  - CBS THIS MORNING

CLICK HERE TO WATCH CBS THIS MORNING

Saved By A Song: TEDxLincolnSquare

"Trauma goes deeper than words. But music can get into those places."
 
TEDxLincolnSquare has posted my TED Talk "Saved By A Song."  I spoke in New York City recently about the process of using songs and songwriting to articulate difficult stories to create resonance and human connection. It was not easy to get it all said in the time allowed, but I think I came pretty close.

A huge thanks to Tricia Brouk for being an amazing TED Director
and Talk Leader!

Click HERE to Watch

Americana Album of the Year Nomination

Wow! What an honor to be nominated for Album of the Year by
The Americana Music Association! 

Neilson Hubbard produced Rifles & Rosary Beads beautifully, and brought in the perfect band for these songs. Michele Gazich came in with his violin from Italy and we had an amazing week recording in the little recording studio Neilson built in my house. The tracking came together fast, and I knew right away that the sound he got was right for these songs.

I am deeply grateful to the Americana membership for nominating this project.

MAJOR CONGRATS
to all the Veteran co-writers and to the wives.
WE DID THIS TOGETHER!

Thank you to SongwritingWith:Soldiers for letting me be a part of your visionary work with Veterans.

Good luck, love and deep respect to all the Record of the Year nominees:
Brandi Carlile, Margo Price and Jason Isbell.

All Award Winners will be announced September 12th at the Americana Honors & Awards Show at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

We Are Stronger Together

Welcome To My May Newsletter!

A HUGE thank you to all the Veterans who came out to The Linda in Albany, New York last Wednesday (pictured above). Thank you for helping us feel the beautiful, lasting connections that these songs have made, and thank you to SongwritingWith: Soldiers Director Mary Judd and Veteran Josh Geartz for bringing so much love into the room.

Josh Geartz surprised me by WALKING up to the stage! Josh showed up WITHOUT A WHEELCHAIR, and walked up three steps to play harmonica on stage with me. I had no idea he had been working on this (for over a year), and it was absolutely amazing. To me, Josh is living proof of the true spiritual power of song, when that song tells the truth.


I appreciate all of the Veterans who have come out to support us along the Rifles & Rosary Beads Album Release Tour. I love meeting all of you and hearing your personal stories. This last tour in the eastern US was a wondrous run, and I'm so grateful for the sold out rooms and positive energy behind Rifles & Rosary Beads. Thank you!

I'm Heading to the UK!

My UK Album Release Tour kicks off this Friday, May 4th, in Portstewart at The Flowerfield Arts Centre with Special Guest Michele Gazich. I'll be carrying in my heart all of the love that's been given to me by new and old friends in each town. I'm filled with joy and gratitude, and my heart is full of wonder. We truly are all Stronger Together.

We hope to see you down the road!
Please visit the
full tour schedule for all of the details.

~ Mary

World Debut: "Stronger Together"

Today, we're premiering the video for "Stronger Together," a song I co-wrote with songwriter Ashley Cleveland, and six EOD wives at the Boulder Crest Retreat Centre in Bluemont, Virginia.

They say no mans left behind but that ain't true
They hate it that they need us but they do
They lose their fingers, lose their limbs
We try to love 'em back together again
They say no mans left behind but that ain't true

They're hurt in places that the eye can't see
We miss the man our husband used to be
The military breaks their heart
We're there when they fall apart
They're hurt in places that the eye can't see

We're stronger together
Sisters forever
We're stronger together
Sisters forever


What is an EOD wife, you ask? EOD wives are women who are married to military bomb experts. EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal. EOD is a joint service military occupational skill, which means that EOD Technicians serve within the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.

On average, there are over 4,000 brave men and women serving as EOD Technicians within the four services. These technicians are responsible for disarming, rendering safe and disposing of a variety of unexploded military ordnance and terrorist devices: Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs. IEDs on today's battlefields are responsible for the majority of fatalities and severe injuries to our troops.

When I sat down with these wives to write this song, I asked them "How do you do it? How do you make it through each day married to someone whose job it is to dismantle terrorist bombs all over the world?"

They told me they do it together. Women watching out for other women, and for each other's children. A family within a family, committed to each other's well being. They said it can't be done any other way. It is just too hard to go it alone when you are married to a bomb guy. These women are hidden heroes, as they hold their families together while their husbands are off doing the most dangerous work imaginable.

I hope you like their song.

We focus on the good but that's all we've got
It don't look like much but we know it's a lot
Every time we say goodbye could be the last time we see him alive
We focus on the good that's all we've got


EOD wives don't sit by the phone
No news is good news back at home
When their mission ready at their best
We take care of all the rest
EOD wives don't sit by the phone

And we're stronger together
Sisters forever
Oh we're stronger together
Sisters forever

Written by Mary Gauthier / Rebekah Gorsuch / Gina Canaday / Amanda Chastain / Debbi Chapman / Sarah Dooley / Sissy Moore / Ashley Cleveland

Stronger Together is available on my new album, Rifles & Rosary Beads. Click HERE to purchase.

World Premiere: "Iraq" Video

RIFLES & ROSARY BEADS AVAILABLE NOW

*Trigger warning for sensitive content

Today we debut the video for the song Iraq, a story song that I co-wrote with retired US Army Veteran Brandy Davidson. Iraq appears on my new album Rifles & Rosary Beads.

Brandy's story speaks for itself, but I'd like to offer a few words about co-writing songs with female veterans. Here's the last verse of the song:


I stood my ground, I didn't give in
I drew a line again and again
When they whistled and whispered
When the wind kicked up dust

I looked to the sky
ask the Lord why
I had no one to trust


MST.
The first time I saw those letters was about five years ago, on the day I sat down to write with a female Vietnam Veteran. She had MST tattooed on her forearm, inside a large, black, oval circle. Her aging tattoo, ink way deep in the skin of her bicep, sat right below the fold of her t-shirt.

MST.
I asked her: Annie, what is MST?
She looked me in the eye and said
"Military Sexual Trauma."

My gut lurched like an airplane losing altitude quickly. Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while a Veteran was in the military.

MST includes any sexual activity in which one is involved against one's will - he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.

Other experiences that fall into the category of MST include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person's body or sexual activities; and/or threatening or unwelcome sexual advances.

About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men respond "yes," that they experienced MST when screened by their VA provider.
*Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs Website

Female veterans often deal with sexism and sexualized violence during their service. Brandy's story, told in the song
Iraq, speaks for many. A lack of resources and support continue to prolong their fight for justice and peace.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
I hope that this song helps move things in the right direction.

Purchase here:

www.marygauthier.com

All Retailers:
http://smarturl.it/riflesrosarybeads
 

A portion of every sale goes to the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers.

"Still On The Ride," World Debut

4/1/18: World Debut: "Still On The Ride"

Today we are thrilled to debut the "Still On The Ride" video,
for the song I co-wrote with Veteran Josh Geartz at his first SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreat.

The story behind "Still On The Ride" is an emotional one, full of tragedy, pain healing and restoration. Featured in the March 21st CBS This Morning episode "Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song," I was able to describe the process of writing
"Still On The Ride" with Josh.

"There was one preeminent thing that really was bringing him to his knees...And that was the one of the death of his best friend,"
Gauthier said.

"I think the first line is kinda where you earned my trust, you know," Geartz told Gauthier. "She's trying to get the story, and like, I don't know, looking back on what comes to mind, I was like 'Who the hell knows?' And she goes, 'Good.' And you wrote down that first line." From there, everything Geartz had been holding in just poured out -- and into the song "Still On The Ride."


Looking back now, who the hell knows
Where the soul of a dead soldier goes
Guardian angels, maybe they're true
My guardian angel, maybe it's you

I shouldn't be here, you shouldn't be gone
But it's not up to me who dies and who carries on
I sit in my room, I close my eyes
Me and my guardian angel we're still on the ride


Click HERE or above to watch the "Still On The Ride" Video.

"Still On The Ride" is the 4th track on "Rifles & Rosary Beads," my new album that features 11 songs co-written with Combat Veterans and their families.

A portion of every sale goes to the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers.

"Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song:" April Newsletter

Mary Gauthier with James House, Veteran and Co-Writer Josh Geartz, Lisa Geartz and CBS Film Crew at The Grand Ole Opry

"Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song"

3/21/18: Click To Watch CBS This Morning

Happy Easter!
Welcome To My April Newsletter!


"I looked out the window as the veterans were starting to arrive. And I saw Josh and Lisa pull up...and I saw the pain. And I'm looking out my window. My first thought was, 'He's mine'...I have to write with that guy!" I remembered. "It was almost like a red hot fireball was inside of him. And I knew that the song could take that red hot fireball and make it tangible and we could toss it out into the group, and it would not only take some of the infection out of him, but it would give courage to the group and be useful for other people."

On March 21st, CBS This Morning aired "Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song," as part of their "A More Perfect Union" Series. The episode, which reached 4 million viewers, featured Veteran and Co-writer Josh Geartz, and the work we've done through SongwritingWith:Soldiers. The CBS This Morning producer said "it made him cry, it's so damn good," and "it's the first time he ever teared up editing his own work." 


Watch this week's episode of CBS This Morning, "Healing the Emotional Wounds of War Through Song," by clicking HERE or the link above.

The Tour Continues!

We are so grateful for so many SOLD OUT shows in March! Thank you for coming to see us in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

My Album Release Tour continues April 18th in Portland, Maine. Please visit the
full tour schedule below for all of the details.

For my local friends, I have a few events coming up in Nashville, including a Live, In-Store Performance at Grimey's on Thursday, April 5th, at 6PM.

We hope to see you soon! Thank you for all of your support!
~ Mary

4/1/18: World Debut: "Still On The Ride"

Today we are thrilled to debut the "Still On The Ride" video,
for the song I co-wrote with Veteran Josh Geartz at his first SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreat.

The story behind "Still On The Ride" is an emotional one, full of tragedy, pain healing and restoration. Featured in the March 21st CBS This Morning episode "Healing The Emotional Wounds of War Through Song," I was able to describe the process of writing
"Still On The Ride" with Josh.

"There was one preeminent thing that really was bringing him to his knees...And that was the one of the death of his best friend,"
Gauthier said.

"I think the first line is kinda where you earned my trust, you know," Geartz told Gauthier. "She's trying to get the story, and like, I don't know, looking back on what comes to mind, I was like 'Who the hell knows?' And she goes, 'Good.' And you wrote down that first line." From there, everything Geartz had been holding in just poured out -- and into the song "Still On The Ride."


Looking back now, who the hell knows
Where the soul of a dead soldier goes
Guardian angels, maybe they're true
My guardian angel, maybe it's you

I shouldn't be here, you shouldn't be gone
But it's not up to me who dies and who carries on
I sit in my room, I close my eyes
Me and my guardian angel we're still on the ride


Click HERE or above to watch the "Still On The Ride" Video.

"Still On The Ride" is the 4th track on "Rifles & Rosary Beads," my new album that features 11 songs co-written with Combat Veterans and their families.

A portion of every sale goes to the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers.

The New York Times - "After War, Three Chords and The Truth"

  Mary Gauthier with Veteran and Co-Writer Josh Geartz on stage in Franklin, TN   Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford for The New York Times

Mary Gauthier with Veteran and Co-Writer Josh Geartz on stage in Franklin, TN
Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford for The New York Times

3/5/18: "After War, Three Chords and the Truth" - The New York Times
Click Here to Read Full Article

Welcome to My March Newsletter! Happy Spring! 

What an honor to welcome Veterans Josh Geartz and Britney Pfad at our sold out "Rifles & Rosary Beads" Album Release Show at The Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee on Friday, February 23rd. Josh, who traveled to Franklin from Buffalo, New York with his family, received a standing ovation when he joined us onstage to play harmonica during "Still On The Ride," the song he co-wrote with me at his first SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreat.

Album producer Neilson Hubbard and Joshua Britt presented a special screening of their "Rifles & Rosary Beads" Documentary, which recently won the Inspiration Award at the 2018
Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette, Lousiana.

Thank you to everyone involved for making the Album Release Show a very memorable evening!

The reviews of Rifles & Rosary Beads are in, and the response to this record has been tremendous. I've included Press Highlights below, with links to each article.

Read this week's full article in
The New York Times, "After War, Three Chords and the Truth," by clicking the link above.

A portion of every sale goes to the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers,
and I've already given them a check for $8,000!

The Album Release Tour continues this week, and I hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows. I am heading to Chicago, Columbus, Ann Arbor, and Pittsburgh this week, and and then to the West Coast on March 18th! Please visit the
full tour schedule on the TOUR page for all of the details.

Thank you for all of your support!
~ Mary

Press Highlights

"...She has roamed the same dark roads as Bruce Springsteen on 'Nebraska' and Neil Young on 'Tonight's the Night'...she has a knack for devastating details, populating her lyrics with crucible kisses, ravaged rings, hissing heat pipes, vulture shadows..."
-Chicago Tribune

"The songs on 'Rifles & Rosary Beads are folk songs framed in Gauthier's smoky vocals. They go a long way to revealing the underlying traumas of a soldier's experience serving in a war while also laying bare the equally traumatic experiences of their loved ones." 
-Chicago Sun Times

"You'll be hard-pressed to hear a more powerfully moving work than Rifles & Rosary Beads - this year, or any other."
-LA TIMES

"The replacement of ready-made, comfortable niceties about the military, or generalized criticism of that life, with riveting, occasionally harrowing specifics from real lives as lived now is the strongest sort of musical salute to those who have served or stood by them. The finesse Mary Gauthier brings to this engrossing music makes this album a landmark."
-THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"...Her new record is a gift in a contemporary moment full of chatter and political rhetoric. It shows how simply telling what happened can cut through the divisions that distract us. Rifles & Rosary Beads is the product of compassion and a call for more compassion at a time when it's needed most."  
-Ann Powers, NPR World Cafe

Listen on NPR.org

NPR World Cafe - Reworking Trauma: Mary Gauthier Tells Veteran Stories on 'Rifles & Rosary Beads'

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Happy February!

Thank you so much for your support of my new record, Rifles & Rosary Beads! Co-written with Veterans and their families, Rifles & Rosary Beads has already made its way around the world. The reviews are coming in every day, and we thought we would share some of the highlights from the press with you. Click on each link below to read the articles.

Also, I'm looking forward to seeing my East Coast friends this week, with shows in New York City, Boston, Vienna and Annapolis, in support of my new record. We have a whole list of dates lined up, including our Album Release Show on February 23rd in Franklin, Tennessee! You can find tickets and see where we'll be next at
www.marygauthier.com.

Press Highlights

"The importance of this effort cannot be overstated."
-Country Standard Time

"The album's honesty and insight into an often overlooked aspect of American democracy - the on-the-ground experiences of soldiers and, especially, the aftermath of their time in combat - is a gift in a contemporary moment full of chatter and political rhetoric."
-NPR World Cafe

"Rifles & Rosary Beads' gives veterans and their spouses a voice, a chance to find in song the words that foster growth in the midst of trauma...Gauthier and her co-writers deliver an album of songs that momentarily make the burdens of these men and women lighter, for in these songs they've found the care and empathy of a listening stranger who sits not in judgment but embraces in love." 
-No Depression

 Mary Gauthier with Veteran and Co-Writer Jamie Trent

Mary Gauthier with Veteran and Co-Writer Jamie Trent

Reviews Around the World

"När Mary Gauthier skriver sånger tillsammans med amerikanska militärveteraner hittar hon kvaliteter långt bortom de terapeutiska, samtidigt som hon känns igen rent musikaliskt."
- Dagens Nyheter, Sweden, 1/26/18

"Pensez The Ghost of Tom Joad à la rencontre d’Universal Soldier, en plus cru, en plus nu, en plus tendre aussi. Un album essentiel."
 - Le Devoir, Canada, 2/2/18


"Ingen kan rimligtvis ta miste på att Mary Gauthier brinner både för låtarna och historierna de ger offentligt liv åt och det gör ”Rifles & Rosary Beads” till en av hennes starkaste skivor hittills."
 - Mono Magasin, Sweden, 12/13/17

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

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.