Ragged edges, broken parts,” begins Mary Gauthier’s song “False from True.” The line introduces a quietly brutal story of estrangement and loss on a remarkable album of same (2014’s Trouble & Love), but it might as well serve as the writer’s declaration of artistic purpose and the quarry of subjects that has sustained her career across ten consistent releases: damaged, lost and suffering people treated with surgically fine candor and with unforced compassion. Gauthier’s gift for telling detail, personal narrative and universal truth is so profound, it pardons her comparatively pedestrian resources and tendencies as a melody-writer – if you lean in close to attend the words and the artless, bruised drawl of her singing.
If you are waiting to be grabbed by a roots hook in the way that you might by such similar artists as Lucinda Williams, Robbie Fulks or Jolie Holland, you might be looking at your watch after a few tracks; but if you thrive off cliché-free, poetic Americana narrative aimed unwaveringly at your hard-to-win heart, Mary Gauthier is your huckleberry.
Gauthier returns to the Rosendale Café – at which she is something of a fixture and a favorite – on Saturday, November 14 at 8 p.m. Admission cost $25. The Rosendale Café is located at 434 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-9048 or visit https://rosendalecafe.com.