Much to my surprise that is exactly what the show was, backed by Canadians singer/songwriter, Scott Nolan (guitar/backing vocals) and Joanna Miller (drums/backing vocals) Gauthier tore through versions of her songs with a much harder edge. She did so without losing an ounce of the emotion and brilliance that always resides inside her music.
Taking place at The Columbus Performance Arts Center as part of the Six String Concert Series, her 90 minute set covered songs from all six of her studio albums. She included many of her fan favorites alongside of some deeper cuts, Fred Eaglesmith covers and a few new songs as well.
During the entire show, Gauthier genuinely seemed to be having more fun than anyone in the room. Stepping back in the middle of songs to let Nolan take lead breaks while she grinned from ear to ear, like a four year old left alone with the cookie jar. It was quite refreshing to see an artist, who writes songs that run so emotionally deep and often sad, not take herself too seriously while on stage. Gauthier’s in between song banter and interactions with the crowd came off as uncontrived and natural, and added the comedic interludes that songs with such heaviness need.
Sonically, the band seemed loose but perfect for the moment. Miller and Nolan’s backing vocals filled in nicely when needed with Miller’s vocals sometimes standing out in a beautifully haunting way. The drums and the lead guitar gave a much enjoyed boost to the songs that is often lacking from singer/ songwriter type shows.
Highlights of the show for me included a great version of “Your Sister Cried”, that far eclipsed the original Eaglesmith version. Early on in the show, she played crowd and personal favorite, “I Drink” which really set the stage for the type of night we were going to have. I really enjoyed hearing “Karla Faye” and “Last of the Hobo Kings” live as well. Towards the end of the set she played a brand new co-write with Irish singer, Ben Glover, entitled “Oh Soul” that brought all of us in the crowd together with a great sing along part. Closing the set was her signature song, “Drag Queens in Limousines” and a solo acoustic encore of “Mercy Now”.
Over all I’d say the 150 folks in the audience got every penny of their money’s worth as Gauthier definitely prides herself on delivering a damn fine show to her fans. While I was disappointed to not get a podcast recorded (cancelled due to timing issues) I was sure glad I got to finally see her perform.
A few final notes of interest from the show, Gauthier delivered a marriage proposal to a lady who’s partner had decided to pop the question to after 22 years together. Another break in the show had Gauthier stepping aside as Nolan and Miller performed his song, “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart”. This track which was covered by Hayes Carll on his album, Trouble in Mind, was a million times better coming from Nolan and has definitely made it clear I must investigate his albums a little more.
I will discuss Rod Picott’s excellent opening set later this week when I post the podcast Rod and I recorded.
Find out more on Mary Gauthier here : www.MaryGauthier.com
Buy her latest album here:Live at Blue Rock
and finally learn about Scott Nolan here: www.ScottNolan.ca