Mary Gauthier Delivers Simple, Yet Powerful Musical Messages
At 43, Mary Gauthier has been writing songs for only eight years, but with her fourth album, Mercy Now, she's being compared to singer-songwriters Lucinda Williams and John Prine. The title song, a plea for compassion for family members, both personal and universal, is lighting up the switchboards at Americana radio stations. The notion of grace is "a message people need to hear now," says Jody Denberg, of KGSR-FM in Austin, Texas. "There's a simplicity in her music that is equaled by its intensity." Orphaned at birth, Gauthier grew up in Baton Rouge, La. She studied philosophy at Louisiana State University and ran a successful Boston restaurant before turning to music. In 2001, producer Gurf Morlix was floored to find the beginner's songs "on par with the great ones—Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt." Gauthier shies away from such comparisons, insisting, "I was just born to tell stories."