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Saturday July 26, 2014
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Mary Gauthier

 

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I saw Mary Gauthier again this August at a small music festival in Ontario, where I was playing with my band. Each summer Canadian songwriter Fred Eaglesmith hosts two charity music events, and this, Fred's Southern Picnic, was one of them. We finished our set as the sun set over a nearby lake and then stayed around for the rest of the lineup: Eaglesmith, a band of classical Indian musicians, and Mary Gauthier. I was anxious to see her perform in this somewhat less formal setting. She played by herself — simple, spare music to back phrases that have been distilled to their most pungent and incisive. Her "Wheel inside the Wheel" is a magnificent work, inspired by the sudden, startling death of songwriter Dave Carter. It's a funeral march that's at once terrifying and yet filled with joy and hope.

Satchmo takes a solo, and he flashes his million dollar smile
Marie Laveau promenades with Oscar Wilde
Big Funky Stella twirls her little red umbrella to the beat
As the soul parade winds its way down Eternity Street

Souls ain't born, souls don't die
Soul ain't made of earth, ain't made of water, ain't made of sky
So ride the flaming circle, wind the golden reel
And roll on, brother, in the wheel inside the wheel

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