Devenish, Victoria 2006
I was laying in bed listing to the radio – Radio National as it was proudly called back then before the marketers and managers in their suits decided to make changes that have slowly destroyed our beloved radio station. Today we are left with but a shell, only one music program left and it has been changed, not for the best, sadly.
Lucky Oceans’ late night music program The Planet was on straight after Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live and I decided to listen for a bit. Cassandra was away with her best friend walking some great trek. They would do these great long expansive bush walks together. I would be be amazed at their skills and organisation. They achieved wonders without all the flash gear so-called experts reckoned they would have needed. Cass told me stories of some other well-kitted out walkers very envious of the food she and Karen ate, as the over resourced walkers would be opening another super expensive vacuumed packed gourmet camping meal that was not that really gourmet at all.
The opening two songs Lucky played that night were by Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go-Shay as Lucky informed us). The songs changed my songwriting life. Mary Gauthier entered my little world and reinforced the notion that songwriting is a great art form as worthy of any other. To me, she was, until then, an unknown master of her art.
The first song was I Drink and it’s an in your face and telling story of someone we all have known, met, been or are. No bullshit, just simple to the point and hitting that proverbial nail right on its fucking head song writing. Wow – I wanted to know more about this woman. She had a voice the kind you like it or don’t, the kind of voice that is hers and hers alone. The songs are a mix of folk and country gothic about life, love, grief and hope and are worthy of the praise and accolades Mary has gained in the ensuing years.
I couldn’t wait for Cass to get home from her trek so I could tell her all about Mary Gauthier. I had a friend find her music on the net and he made up a little compilation album to play. I found out about her hard early life and that she didn’t write a song until she was well into her 30s. We have since bought most of her albums, with her latest on the way. We got to see her perform in the Brunswick Town Hall some years back and it was wonderful. Mary Gauthier might change your life too. Check her out.