Songs and Stories #100: Mary Gauthier – Songwriting, creativity, and when the muse finally came around

Click to hear episode #100 (time = 41:14, size = 30.7 mb)

I’ve been hanging onto this interview for a few months, because I wanted something special for the first triple-digit episode of “Songs and Stories”. The first time I heard her song “Drag Queens and Limousines”, I knew that Mary Gauthier (“Go-SHAY”) was here to tell us stories we weren’t going to hear otherwise. And she’s been doing that for six albums. Her latest is “The Foundling”, a more than semi-autobiographical song cycle about an orphan’s search for her mother. Some reviewers have called it her first masterpiece.

I’ve appreciated her stark storytelling for many years, so I was thrilled when we had a chance to talk late last summer. We discussed how songwriting wasn’t her first vocation – she’s a trained chef and opened/ran several successful Boston restaurants before she became and award-winning songwriter – and the changes in her life that led her to songwriting and a constant pursuit to create. We also talked about the differences between a “musician” and a “songwriter” and get an insight into how she’s constantly looking at the world through the eyes of a writer…even when she’s not writing.

Note: A running local gag is that my last name is occasionally mis-pronounced as “Gauthier”. Mary and I aren’t kin, but if can be mistakenly related to greatness, I’ll take it.

Mary Gauthier sings the title track from “The Foundling”

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