Music Reviews
Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier

Rifles & Rosary Beads

In The Black Records

There are songwriters…and then there’s Mary Gauthier.

Since 1997 on her debut album Dixie Kitchen up to her newest, Gauthier has penned moments of brilliance that like the work of Leonard Cohen or Kristofferson contain a line or phrase that takes your breath away. She deals in raw emotion, forgiveness – or not. A song such as “Mercy Now” or “When A Woman Goes Cold” are initially unsettling, so unadorned is the passion, so true and brilliant the words.

But nothing prepares you for her newest, Rifles & Rosary Beads. Written with young combat veterans, the 11 cuts found here are both gut wrenching and revelatory, brutally honest and unsparing. Gauthier was encouraged to work with the group

The songs here are gritty and honest, such as the magnificent “Bullet Holes In The Sky” – a veterans look at Veterans Day: “And they thank me for my service and wave their little flags/They genuflect on Sundays and yes, they’d send us back” or a female vet’s struggle with sexual harassment and abuse on “Iraq”. These songs give us a glimpse into a life most of us have no idea about. They are tales of heroism, of sacrifice, of having your brother’s back (“Got Your Six”), of pain and being forgotten – and forgiven.

Rifles & Rosary Beads is Mary Gauthier’s masterpiece, and yet she seems almost a secondary character in it, so compelling and real are the words of the vets. This is not an easy listen – and shouldn’t be. These people have a story to tell, to a nation that by and large have overlooked them, and can’t understand why they did what they did. Mary Gauthier has given them an outlet, and while painful, we’re all the better for it.

http://www.marygauthier.com


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