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Mary Gauthier

Trouble & Love (In the Black)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 20, 2014

Phases & Stages

Mary Gauthier

Trouble & Love (In the Black)

The musical poetry of Louisiana native Mary Gauthier hews closely to her own turmoil and struggle – from orphan, runaway, and jailed drug addict to celebrated chef and lauded songwriter – in narratives inhabiting the outskirts among the marginalized with steeled compassion and understanding. Like 2010's The Foundling, this seventh studio LP draws marrow from Gauthier's bones, cauterizing the wounds of a relationship into one of the most devastating breakup albums of all time. "Scorched earth will not burn," she drawls while surveying the damage on opener "When a Woman Goes Cold," and the eight songs that follow unfold as stoically as they are brutal. Her raw twang and unflinching emotion recall Lucinda Williams on "False From True" and the stunning title track; "Oh Soul" picks toward Gillian Welch with Darrell Scott's mournful harmony. The album veers toward resolution, if not recovery, through the exceptional "Walking Each Other Home" and wrenching "How You Learn to Live Alone." Closer "Another Train" glimmers the faintest hope on a swelling chorus. Trouble & Love, timeless.

****

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