Mary Gauthier: Mercy Now 

The title song on Mercy Now is a song that makes you stop and listen no matter what you're doing. Mary Gauthier sings about "my church and country," saying, They carry the weight of the faithful/Who follow them down/I love my church and country, and they could use some mercy now.

The appeal of Gauthier (pronounced Go-shay) is more than her lyrics. She also has a voice that demands attention. She sounds like a female Joe Cocker: a gravelly tunester. Her voice--like her lyrics--betrays the life she's lived. It's a little rough around the edges.

Gauthier wrote or co-wrote eight of the 10 songs on this CD. She's a stellar songwriter in good company with those who helped her pen these songs. There's a Harlan Howard tune, "Just Say She's a Rhymer," that could be the high point of the entire album. And she covers Fred Eaglesmith's "Your Sister Cried" just as well as he ever did.

On "I Drink," Gauthier sings, Fish swim/Birds fly/Daddies yell/Mammas cry/Old men sit and think/I drink. It was the story of her life at home until she stole a car and ran away at age 15. Since then, she's been a philosophy major, a successful business owner, won her own bout with the "demon drink" and now has her musical career off to a rousing start.

Her newest release is earning wide critical acclaim and airtime on more progressive radio stations. I'm enjoying Mercy Now while waiting for her next CD. If she wants to show me some mercy, that release will be sooner rather than later.

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