Meredith Ochs
February 07, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

On the cinematic opener of Mercy Now, her fourth CD, Mary Gauthier (it’s pronounced Go-SHAY) uses a tawdry ghost-town hotel as a metaphor for an unraveling relationship. As a steel guitar howls and birds of prey circle, ”casting vulture shadows on barren beds,” it’s clear that Americana is not a sepia-toned romantic notion for this singer-songwriter. Her song portraits are stark and brutal. The beauty of Gauthier’s country noir lies in the humanity of her characters, and in the sweet yearning of her gruff Louisiana drawl.

You May Like