You couldn’t have had two more contrasting audiences converging on the Roundhouse that night. On the one hand retro-romantic-glam-punk rockers for the Dresden Dolls, on the other – well, er, could’ve been their “older, but we ain’t dead yet” folks for Mary Gauthier.
Thomm Jutz, Mary’s superbly-talented backing musician, came out and settled down to tuning his guitar. Mary soon. Thomm strums. Management pops out of the back door and goes back in. Thomm strums. Still no Mary. Ladies near me getting worried – “Don’t worry”, say I, (thinking Oh God, she’s had a run-in with the punks). Thomm strums. Finally, Mary – phew! But she’s as wired and spooked as hell by something and it’s a couple of songs before she starts to relax enough to speak to us.
Mary’s from the Deep South and Hurricane Katrina hit her and hers badly, the grief and anger plain to see in ‘Momma Louisiana’. There were more stories from Mary’s life on the road and some more new songs too. Lots of them. New album promised sometime - “it’s in the queue” – but the music business may not be playing straight with her – well, we’ll see. Wonderfully self-deprecating, Mary acknowledges she does a great line in “miserable holiday songs” – one of the latest being “Thanksgiving at the Prison” where the fine details of families queuing up to visit their loved ones includes the dignified grandma who is frisked not once, but twice: “When they’re done she wipes their touch off her dress, stands tall and walks in”.
Mary was delighted so many waited afterwards for a meet’n’greet. If she’s passing through a town near you, drop by, open your ears and listen – you won’t be disappointed. Oh yes, and Bob Dylan rates her ‘Mercy Now’ – that must please her.