Flyinshoes Review

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MARY GAUTHIER —RIFLES & ROSARY BEADS (Proper records)

www.proper-records.com

Seasoned Americana singer-songwriter, Louisiana, Mary Gauthier isn’t the kind of person to back away from an issue, but rather an artist who takes on the world face on. Unafraid to tread ground others tend to detour or look past.  

As heard in her previous nine albums her latest record is no different. In fact it could not be more forthright, and honest. It might also be one of her finest, and most honest record yet! Gauthier's greatest strength is of course the lyrical content of her work (the music it too meets the audience full on). A superb observer she is known for telling a good story as if she were living it, hence the listener can’t help but engage with the lyrics. Here she is given the unique support of people, veterans who have served in the US forces to be exact. It all came about after Gauthier became involved in Songwriting With Soldiers Program, one that has US Military Vets and their families turn their experience into music (a project fellow singer-songwriter, Darden Smith is heavily involved in). Over the last 4 ½ years and counting she has written 50 such songs, and foresees her releasing a series of albums from heart to heart conversations where she obtained ‘human connection’ with those most affected.  

Her spin on war is most sympathetic towards the soldier left to carry out the deed, and go places few of us can comprehend. Quite often to a place many Americans don’t know its geographic location, never mind the culture or who their neighbours are ,and effect their presence is likely to have on that particular country good or bad.  

Some are from a women’s perspective as she speaks of sexual abuse in Iraq, and of how they aren’t fully prepared to have female combatants in the field and the fact they are still called servicemen. Something that rattles them greatly, it seems considering recent changes in today’s world the US military have missed a beat here.    

Highlights include the addition vocal aided “Soldering On”, and with her heart and soul marching in determined fashion “Brothers” (about inequality on the women’s front). You also have the sombre title-track “Rifles To Rosary Beads”. Others to add to the above include “Bullet Holes In The Sky”; inspired by US Navy Desert Storm veteran and his story of how on Veteran’s Day those with an active military ID are given a free breakfast at Waffle House, and on pressing home the case for those who pick up the pieces when the men come home, the families. Another of the ilk is “The War After The War” (also see “Stronger Together”), a piece you can't help but muse over and learn from. As another side of war is told in a simple, unbiased fashion.

Her finest and strongest shows of passion are undoubtedly those when she tells it from a woman’s perspective; like with “Iraq” and “Brothers”. Gauthier is the type of person you would want in your corner if you were in a scrap, or had an obstacle to over come no matter what or where the location. While my review copy comes without all the personnel the listener has some fine vocal harmonies to savour, none better than those featured on the impassioned “Stronger Together”.      

Dour, earthy with little in the way of humour Gauthier faces the issue face on. Many is the time she was been reduced to tears hearing the stories or on realising the magnitude of the hurt and negative impact war has on people. It isn’t a comic book story! As in her own words what you have here is the power of song and from those reflections shared, willingly by the veterans and their families is the whole truth and not just part of it. 

                    Maurice Hope 

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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