Mary Gauthier Live at Blue Rock

Mary Gauthier Live at Blue Rock
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Given that she's a favourite draw on the folk/roots fest circuit, it's no surprise this acclaimed American singer-songwriter has come up with a live album, after six much-praised studio records. Her dark, intense material is not your typical "Kumbaya"-style campfire sing-along fare, as exemplified by "Karla Faye," dedicated to an executed murderess. The audience at the gig, a ranch outside Austin, is clearly attentive though. Gauthier reprises such favourites as "I Drink" and "Blood is Blood," and it's great to see our undervalued songsmith, Fred Eaglesmith, represented with three of his numbers covered here ("Cigarette Machine" is a highlight). They are clearly kindred spirits, each infusing heavy themes with poetic eloquence. The stripped-down sound features two accompanists (fiddle and percussion), and it is Gauthier's rich, resonant vocals that always occupy centre stage. The set lasts over an hour, but never sags. (Independent)