Mary Gauthier ‘Trouble and Love’ - Proper

While some writers can stand outside the fire and observe the writing for this album comes from inside the flames. This is Mary Gauthier writing from the heart. The eight track album, with a running time of nearly 40 minuets, starts with the despair of When A Woman Grows Cold to the final song, a more hopeful and accepting but moving on song Another Train. Between those two songs Gauthier explores the nature of a failing relationship and how one party is often unaware of the reasons why love can turn to hate or indifference. Gauthier has co-written some of these songs with other writers who write from a perspective that fully understands the nature of these themes. Beth Neilson Chapman and Gretchen Peters both are co-writers, as is touring partner Ben Glover and Scott Nolan.

These songs have been given a sympathetic production by Gauthier and Patrick Granado that utilises a flexible unit of upright bass, drums and keyboards with some highly effective counter point electric guitar from Guthrie Trapp and special guest Duane Eddy - both apply some lonesome twang to the songs. Eddy’s guitar is especially powerful on How You Learn To Live Alone. Vocally she is joined by Darrell Scott (Oh Soul) and Ashley Cleveland, the McCrary Sisters as well as Siobhan Kennedy and Beth Nielson Chapman. The combination of these players and singers, with these song, has produced one of the best albums of Gauthier’s career to date. She has always been an astute observer but putting yourself and your confused emotions in the spotlight is not an easy thing to do. She makes those universal emotions of loss and pain into something that many can share. But though this is, in some ways, an experience maybe shared alone or in a roomfull of listeners it is not one that is depressing to listen to. That is largely due to the spirit of all involved and their commitment to something that is still posible to grow from. The aforementioned song How You Learn To Live Alone is one that speaks to the ways we find to survive such loss.

Vocally Gauthier is at her best here, her distinctive vocal delivery has the added depth of meaning that makes all these songs both gritty and true. The sense of the need to emotionally share such an experience and to understand that many others have experienced similar paths is considered in Walking Each Other Home. Through music we can do that; Trouble & Love is a prime example of that.