Mary Gauthier | Between Daylight And Dark

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Between Daylight And Dark

by Mary Gauthier

Southern gothic minimalism
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Snakebit
4:31 $0.99
2. Can't Find The Way
6:06 $0.99
3. Between Daylight and Dark
4:15 $0.99
4. Last of the Hobo Kings
5:50 $0.99
5. Before You Leave
3:42 $0.99
6. Please
5:03 $0.99
7. Same Road
5:19 $0.99
8. I Ain't Leaving
5:17 $0.99
9. Soft Place To Land
4:47 $0.99
10. Thanksgiving
5:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Between Daylight and Dark Mary Gauthier

“Another day, another night.
Another night, another day
We want to go home
We can’t find the way
-- Can’t Find the Way,” Mary Gauthier

In the case of Mary Gauthier, four words are worth a thousand pictures.
Between Daylight and Dark, her new Lost Highway album, finds her aiming her compass at the sky and searching for home. It is from this longing for home that this group of songs has emerged, and they fill Gauthier’s new album with both hope and anguish, with faith as well as fear.

Mary Gauthier knows these places well, having traveled through a night that had stretched into years, from a turbulent Louisiana childhood through odd juxtapositions of accomplishment and devastation. The result is reflected in the music, starting as a trickle of songs almost from the moment of her sobriety and swelling into the stream that fed her first two self-released albums (Dixie Kitchen, Drag Queens in Limousines), an indie-label release (Filth and Fire), and her stunning Lost Highway debut (Mercy Now).

Acclaim has followed Gauthier. Mercy Now was continuously “discovered” and lauded in the two years following its release, earning mentions on a score of year end “best of” lists in ’05, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and No Depression. The album even received a benediction from Bob Dylan, who included one of its songs on a playlist for his XM Satellite Radio program.

Gauthier’s evolution as a songwriter continues on Between Daylight and Dark, though the scenery has changed. You have to look closely to see the difference, but it’s there, like a flower pushing through rubble: an intimation of hope, a trace of sunrise in the troubled sky. It’s in the understanding that even as a lover departs on “Before You Leave”, Gauthier sings, “the light that used to shine behind your eyes gets brighter as you walk away”. In the weary wisdom bestowed by love on “Same Road,” Gauthier knows that “when you flirt with the shadows, darkness snakes under your skin” – yet even here, there’s hope: “The only way back home is to let the light of truth come in.”

“I’ll never get rid of that wild-child, going-to-jail, crazy-adolescence story,” she admits. “But I’ve moved way past that thing. I’m ten years into songwriting. I’ve finished my fifth record. I’ve been a sober woman for a very long time, for many years longer than I wasn’t. I’ve matured – and my writing has matured. And I am learning how to allow myself to be vulnerable, to step out on a ledge and hang there, as an artist, and as a woman; to allow my writing to expose parts of me that I have always feared showing - . my softer side, my fragility, my needs.”

Gauthier has always been a unique lyricist, with an ability to illuminate even moments of devastation and despair in beautiful hues. That gift is evident throughout Between Daylight and Dark, though her perspective has shifted somewhat. “As a writer, I’m figuring out what my job is today, in this instant,” she explains. “What I did yesterday does not matter. I am more in the moment. I know instinctively when I’m onto something, and then I have to chase that feeling down until I find what it is I need to say in the song. My songwriting changes as I change, and though it’s odd to admit it, I discover a lot about who I am in my songwriting. I can see how I’ve changed by looking back at how my songs have changed. The songs on this record are a little more fragile, a little more tender, and a lot more hopeful.”

Her performances on Between Daylight and Dark reflect her growth not just as a songwriter, but as an artist. Unlike Mercy Now, which was assembled layer upon layer, with each part recorded in sequence, Between Daylight and Dark was cut live, with only an occasional solo or vocal snippet added afterward. Just as important, she gathered her musicians from a pool of players who know how to go deep into a song, being familiar with the creative process from the inside.

Begin with Joe Henry, whose songwriting credentials are well established. With Henry handling production, Gauthier invited musicians like Greg Leisz, Jay Bellerose, Patrick Warren and David Piltch to Henry’s basement studio in Pasadena, with an aim to making an album unlike any she’d done before.

“Everybody was in the same room,” she recalls. “The vocal room is isolated, but there’s a big glass window on either side, so I could watch everyone and they could watch me. It was a performance, which meant that we all knew when we got it, in real time. It was a live performance with an intuitive band, and we all knew when we locked it in. You can just feel it.. I learned a lot by doing it this way.”

On one cut, a bona fide legend joined the ensemble. “Joe mentioned to me that he had done some work with Van Dyke Parks,” she says. “I said, ‘ if you could have him come over and play, that would be unbelievable.’ So he did, and I was thrilled to meet him. ‘Can’t Find the Way’ was a great track for him. On the surface it’s about what happened with Hurricane Katrina. Under that surface, it’s a lot of people’s story: we want to go home and we can’t find the way. It’s about being human.”

During the five days it took to cut Between Daylight and Dark the focus stayed on the song: From the thigh-slap beat that Bellerose dreamed up for “Last of the Hobo Kings” to the desert-wide spaces that frame the notes on “Snakebit,” everyone’s performance started with the song, not just with the groove or the chord changes.

“All the guys played with a lyric sheet in front of them. For this record, I wanted the band to do one thing really, to create an environment for the words to enter the listener’s heart. These musicians understood that ultimately, I’m absolutely about the words. It was thrilling to work with a live band that took my lyrics in and then brought them to life with their live performance.”

“No more running away. I’ve made up my mind to stay. I’m gonna stand my ground, stare my demons down …”

-- “I Ain’t Leaving,” Mary Gauthier



to write a review

Victor Edwards

Between Daylight and Dark
I can't write as well as the person who wrote the copy for this page, but I will give some kind of a try to capture the effect this marvelous CD had on me. For instance, I can now say that, after a fashion, I have been on tour with Mary. The song "Please" is so vivid that the listener is drawn into the experience. The song brought back feelings for the wonderful girl I married nearly 50 years ago but which I could never have expressed in such words as Mary does. She had me wanting to rush to her side and comfort her. :-) The song ["Please"] is also musically great, with great piano work, Irish drums, and soulful violin. The use of the B3 organ in many of the songs is wonderful to hear.

The song "Can't Find the Way" was the song that first drew me to Mary, but when I got this CD, it was completely replaced as my favorite song by at least 3 other songs on this album. "Thanksgiving" was a song that when I heard of it, I was ready to go to Talulla State Prison and demonstrate there! If that is needed, just call me. It is a song that moves the soul and says much about the person who wrote the song. It also caused me to search the Web and find out that that awful hell-hole has not yet been closed. Shame on Louisana for allowing such an institution to exist, let alone persist. Again, the music of that song is sneaky powerful. Minimalist, as the word on this page expresses, but very powerful. When the song ends, one is left with a lingering thought of the injustices of our world. It is just great stuff. I wish she had been around in the 60s. All we had then was Joan Baez singing other people's songs. Mary is the best of all.

I am sure that I will find an album that I like better. Here's betting that when I do, it will be another of hers. :-)

John Phillipson

B'tween Daylight & Dark
Just a knockout CD:LP',
another FANTASTIC U.S female singer,Powerful,strong, great voice, great'guitars, piano,percussion etc

Curt Nichols

From the Boise Weekly (12/19/07)
After Mary Gauthier’s last release (Mercy Now), I said, “If she wants to show me some mercy, [her next] release will be sooner rather than later.” Now, before you know it, here it is.

This CD, Between Daylight and Dark, was produced by Joe Henry. The songs sound a bit more melodic then her last effort, but the messages she conveys are just as powerful.

One of the more evocative songs is “Can’t Find The Way”, written from the perspective of someone displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In it Gauthier sings, “Another day, another night / Another night, another day / I wanna go home / I can’t find the way.”

Louden Wainwright joins her with background vocals on “Soft Place to Land”. This song contains the lines, “As I’m crashing through the clouds I used to walk on / Reaching out for unfamiliar hands / Falling into the eyes of strangers / I wanna smile, but I can’t / I’m looking for a soft place to land”.

“Thanksgiving” is a distressing all-true-story of visiting a family member in prison on Thanksgiving. It’s sung from the perspective of a girl with her grandmother and other families in the same situation.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Gauthier one of the grimmest songwriters since Townes Van Zandt. That backhanded compliment puts her in some good company. Gauthier sees it differently. She told the Maryville (TN) Daily News, “God gave me the gift of words, so I’m able to … make something beautiful that one wouldn’t think of as beautiful. I think I’m an artist, and maybe I’m good at what you would call junkyard art.”

Grim or otherwise, Gauthier’s latest release, Between Daylight and Dark, is not junky. It’s good. And, it’s timely too. Just in time for me to add to my Christmas list.

Michael P OHare

Between Daylight and Dark
I love this album and have listened to it over and over since I bought it a few weeks ago. Thanks to Mary, Joe Henry and the excellent players on this album. My Aha! moment occurred while listening through canal phones in bed on two back-to-back nights a few weeks ago. Great songwriting, passionate singing, and wow, how about those players. I wonder how many of us really get to hear and appreciate everything they did on this record. Bravo!

Joseph Pendry

Between Daylight and
Just incredibly meaningful. First time I heard Drag Queens in Limonsines I called the radio station to find out who that was and where I could get the cd. It was like early Dylan all over again. Since then I have followed Mary when she has come to the Santa Cruz area and had the cds that I play so often. She is the best to come along in just an awfully long time.

Ken Lawrence

all of the fire, and still all the passion.
Unlike the first few CDs from this lady, the brimstone may not quite be there, the fire still burns in Mary's soul and the passion to match. If you have the others, this CD is a must have. If you Don't this is about as good a place to start as any. get this CD and enjoy it because as mentioned in my review of Mercy now, listen and you'll hear the truth.