Collaboration & Chemistry

collaboration and chemistry mary gauthier

Hello Everyone, and Hello April! In March I played 16 shows in 15 towns on the East Coast with my friends Allison Moorer and David Wilcox. Every show was like sitting on the front porch, telling stories and swapping songs.

Also, a song I co-wrote with my friend Gretchen Peters called “How You Learn To Live Alone” was performed on the Nashville TV show March 25th in front of millions of people by Jonathan Jackson.

March, for me, was about collaboration. To work with another, cooperating and enjoying the results together, is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. It brings to mind the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I have travelled alone for most of my career. Out of financial necessity, and personal preference. It’s a suitable way to present my songs, and I’ve loved living the life of a solo troubadour. Driving from town to town with a guitar, a harmonica, bar stool, a bottle of water, and a spotlight. Selling CD’s from a little table after the show, meeting people, and talking to them as they walk up to the table. Wake up in a hotel, drive. Then do it again. It’s a good life, and I love it.

But to play in combination with others, swapping songs, stories, jokes, sharing the stage with peers, equals, and other writers has brought me to a new appreciation of the art of stage and song. There’s no boss in these situations, no one has the final say. We all have the final say.

Chemistry is important. This wouldn’t work with just anybody. Mutual respect is vital, as is trust. I’ve chosen the people I want to work with, and I’ve chosen well. The results have brought me great joy. We open the door for magic, for alchemy, for the mystical spark of the divine that makes the show bigger than the sum of the people present.

I am in the business of creating magic. We are looking for communion with the Gods, reaching for that lift-off place where we all ride the waves of music into another world and become one with the song. The ego is at rest. It is an event of the soul, and very difficult to create on stage with other songwriters. When the other performer is so very good that the entire room is silenced and amazed, the result is sheer joy.  As a listener I am in resonance with the singer next to me. Ah, such beauty, and so difficult to create and sustain.

I experienced this resonance with David and Allison night after night, and with Gretchen when we wrote "How You Learn To Live Alone." And when I watched Jonathan Jackson beautifully perform our song on the Nashville TV show, I thought "wow - the circle is complete."

With resonance, connection, and joyfulness these days, I am loving this journey!