Mary Gauthier plays the Naked Soul Series • Fri, 06.08
The Rubin Museum • NYC • 7 PM
There is nothing trivial about the award-winning, “country noir” singer Mary Gauthier’s tenth album, Rifles and Rosary Beads (Thirty Tigers), a collection of songs co-written with and for wounded veterans, as part of Darden Smith’s five-year-old Songwriting With: Soldiers program.
Gauthier’s first nine albums presented deeply confessional songs, ranging from “I Drink,” a blunt accounting of addiction, to “March 11, 1962,” the day she was born—and relinquished to an orphanage—to “Worthy,” in which the singer finally understands she is deserving of love.
Each song on Rifles and Rosary Beads is a gut punch: deceptively simple and emotionally complex. From the opening “Soldiering On” (“What saves you in the battle/Can kill you at home”) to “Bullet Holes in the Sky” (“They thank me for my service/And wave their little flags/They genuflect on Sundays/And yes, they’d send us back”), to the abject horror of “Iraq,” and its quiet depiction of a female mechanic’s rape, each song tells the story of a deeply wounded veteran. “My job as a songwriter,” Mary says, “is to find that thing a soul needs to say.”