It’s Mary Gauthier! Not all the excitement that I thought because she was on the Little Stage at 12:00 in the afternoon at the 39th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival. She could have taken it as belittling but she rolled with it and even broke it down. She said. “I’m happy to be anywhere, the sense of entitlement wears off with age, I’m just happy to be here. But it’ll get you arrogant little shits too and we are living longer so we get to watch.” It was said in front of quite a few greyheads, probably too early on Saturday of the Folk Fest for most of the younger campers to get up for live music. And I actually thank the booking agents because, for me, it was a perfect place for her to play. It only got packed at the end when people showed up to love Leonard’s son Adam Cohen.
I wanted to be singing along but she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder about the audience not getting her music. She’s there to entertain and her potentially fun songs are toned down and soon I lost the mood to dance along when Mary sings. Not something that comes across as much when you listen to her cd but she is very direct. So I sat and listened to her preach.
About I Drink, there is much audience misinterpretation, audience members all say to her, “hey I drink too,” but that’s the problem. For Mary, drinking isn’t a good thing. She’s really a new kind of preacher, singing about the hazards of the religion of entertaining and drinking that is prevalent today. Wasn’t religion a hard sell earlier this century? Mary Gauthier’s music is sold to a minority here too. And at the last song she says, “I’ll sing one more prayer for ya.” Although she didn’t play all my favorites, she played new stuff that I like and she revealed herself to me, and I love her for it.
Thought I Heard A Train, Burning The Sugar Cane, Hobo King, Fred Eaglesmith cover Sister Cried. Even her tuning was epic. Boy George covered Mercy Now, Jimmy Buffett covered celebration of death song Wheel Inside The Wheel; Mary said having gays cover her songs sure helped her out — bought a Lexus with the money that Jimmy Buffet sent her way.
Alluding to gayness, Mary laments that in society, girls being a tomboy is alright, until they hit puberty and then it’s strange if the tomboy doesn’t conform to society standards. She has that tragedy in her, of non-acceptance. And I think that’s why comparing her with artists like Lucinda Williams is sad folly. They are similar, singing about Louisiana a lot but the sadness of Mary Gauthier is too different and she has grown to accept it, through addiction, rebirth and relapse.