The Foundling - Her Story
Mary Gauthier has good reason to wear rose coloured glasses as her early life was hard and tragic - an orphan given up at birth by a mother she never knew. All of her music has been influenced by her past and many of her songs describe portions of it, for instance, Drag Queens in Limousines which describes her flight from her foster parents' home in a stolen car to a life on the outer edge of society. She has spent the past two years since her last CD, Between Daylight and Dark, working on a concept album that tells the story of her life. It was released early in Australia to coincide with her tour, and is called The Foundling. It was produced by Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, and uses Canadian musicians almost exclusively. Margo Timmins contributes her voice on harmony vocals.
This is Mary's second foray down under and anyone who saw her perform in January 2007 would have leapt at the chance to see her again. She won many new fans then and is sure to win more with this extended tour.
Brunswick Town Hall was probably the perfect venue for Mary to demonstrate her talents as a songwriter. It is small and intimate and acoustically sound.
An expectant hush fell over the audience when Mary Gauthier, accompanied by guitarist Ed Romanoff stepped onto the stage. Picking up her guitar, Mary discovered it was unplugged, but after that was sorted she launched into Last of the Hobo Kings, a song from Between Daylight And Dark. This was one of only four songs from her back catalogue that Mary performed on the night; the rest of the show was devoted to The Foundling, sung from start to finish.
However, before that, Mary fulfilled a request by singing I Drink, possibly her most famous song, and followed that with the title track of Between Daylight and Dark, a song co-written with sometime Australian tourist, Fred Eaglesmith. Mary remarked that Fred deserved to be recorded on a major label, but when she mentioned this to the man in question, his response was to create a new record label and name it "A Major Label".
Asking the audience's grace, Mary stated that she was going to perform The Foundling from start to finish. All the songs on this record are arranged in chronological order and tell a story.
The next song expresses the despair of rejection, the chorus being, "I'm gonna walk in the water till my hat floats away". The first time I heard those words on the record, it sent a chill up my spine, hearing them live was even more affecting.
the stage for the last time, Mary remarked that she had a Hatch Show Print
poster for sale, ironically adding that Hatch Show Print must have downsized
to design one of hers, they being famous for producing posters for stars
like Elvis and Johnny Cash in the past.
Mary Gauthier is travelling through several states over the coming weeks and will be back in Melbourne on 26th March for a show at the East Brunswick Club and will be doing an in-store at Basement Discs on Saturday 27th. Check the gig guide for details.
photos by Anne Sydenham