What first drew many to the songs in Mary Gauthier's 'Drag Queens in Limousines'
was the way in which the artist celebrated the people whose lives are lived outside
of anything resembling normal. "She is in the miserabilist tradition of alt-country,"
reported The Daily Telegraph (London) after a Gauthier tour, "her narratives
depicting the seamy and sad lives of addicts, AIDS victims and misfits...Gauthier's
grief is genuine...but while many of the songs are desperately bleak, her moving
lyrics and tender music reflect the humanity that exists among people considered
to be society's rejects."
Mary Gauthier's third album, 'Filth & Fire,' produced by Texas-based Gurf
Morlix, introduces characters whose moral qualities are tied to spiritual struggles
with cords that are thin, frayed, and well-worn. "I see the human condition
as always being on the edge," explains Mary," I think it comes with
knowing that every day could be the day it all comes to an end." In 'Filth
& Fire', the listener will find some left hanging by a thread...did she
jump or learn to pray out there on The Ledge? There are those who are holding
on trying to find dignity like Davey, celebrating Christmas in Paradise while
living under the Cow Key Bridge. And others who let go with "nuthin' left
From the 'royal denizens' of Camelot Motel, with "damn good reasons for
their sins" who seek anonymity not absolution, to the "dirty air,
dirty laundry, dirty money, dirty rain," of Mary's Louisiana birthplace
in Burnin' Sugar Cane, her fans will find plenty of the grit they love. But,
there's something new here. Transformation. Perhaps it's a reflection of the
artist who will readily admit, "It's amazing to me that I'm still alive,"
yet is ready to put pieces of her past behind her. Or it could be that Mary's
characters, like the artist herself, are on the edge, but also on the verge.
"You have to have a crack in your ego before you develop faith...something
has to penetrate," Mary explains.
People crack, crumble and burn in Mary's new release as they deal with the
everyday dramas that depict universal themes of love vs. lovelessness, community
vs. loneliness, and despair vs. faith. But, they're dealing. And for Mary, that
seems to be what matters most.