Saturday, October 18, 2008

Americana Singer/Songwriter Mary Gauthier Performs Durham Shelter Benefit 10/24

Parish Hall, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Durham

"No more running away. I've made up my mind to stay. I'm gonna stand my ground, stare my demons down …"
--Mary Gauthier, "I Ain't Leaving"

Pick up any Mary Gauthier CD and you'll get an idea that this is something special. Play her songs and you know it's true. Truth is what defines Gauthier. Her songs may not be autobiographical, or they may be. Regardless, you know she knows of what she sings.

Between Daylight and Dark, Gauthier's most recent recording on the well-loved Lost Highway label, finds this talented writer seeking to define and find home. This longing for home fills Gauthier's album with hope and anguish, faith and fear. Insights that resonate with us all, especially with those for whom the non-denominational Urban Ministries of Durham serves day in and night out, now for a quarter of a century.

Strings Attached Productions, of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, proudly presents Mary Gauthier in a special concert benefiting UMD on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Like UMD's clients, Gauthier knows these places well, having traveled through a night that stretched into years, from a turbulent Louisiana childhood through odd juxtapositions of accomplishment and devastation. Her music reflects the result of one who's lived in heaven, hell and purgatory. Starting as a trickle of songs almost from the moment of her sobriety to swelling into a well-stocked stream that fed her first two self-released albums (Dixie Kitchen, Drag Queens in Limousines), an indie-label release (Filth & Fire) and her stunning Lost Highway debut (Mercy Now).
Acclaim has followed Gauthier. Mercy Now was continuously "discovered" and lauded in the two years following its release, earning mentions on a score of year end "best of" lists in '05, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and No Depression. The album even received a benediction from Bob Dylan, who included one of its songs on a playlist for his XM Satellite Radio program.

Produced by Joe Henry, Between Daylight and Dark reflects her growth not just as a songwriter, but evolution as an artist. You have to look closely to see the difference, but it's there, like a flower pushing through rubble: an intimation of hope, a trace of sunrise in the troubled sky. It's in the understanding that even as a lover departs on "Before You Leave", Gauthier sings, "the light that used to shine behind your eyes gets brighter as you walk away".

Always been a unique lyricist, Gauthier manages to illuminate even moments of devastation and despair in beautiful hues. That gift is evident throughout Between Daylight and Dark, though her perspective has shifted somewhat. "As a writer, I'm figuring out what my job is today, in this instant," she explains, "What I did yesterday does not matter. I am more in the moment. I know instinctively when I'm onto something, and then I have to chase that feeling down until I find what it is I need to say in the song. My songwriting changes as I change, and though it's odd to admit it, I discover a lot about who I am in my songwriting. I can see how I've changed by looking back at how my songs have changed. The songs on this record are a little more fragile, a little more tender, and a lot more hopeful."

"I'll never get rid of that wild-child, going-to-jail, crazy-adolescence story," she admits. "But I've moved way past that thing. I'm ten years into songwriting. I've finished my fifth record. I've been a sober woman for a very long time, for many years longer than I wasn't.  I've matured--and my writing has matured."

Gauthier offers her audiences an opportunity to glimpse and grasp the beauty of grace found. Experience her stories in this intimate, listening room setting Friday, October 24, at 7 PM. Strings Attached Concerts take place next to UMD, in the Parish Hall of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 403 E Main at Queen Streets, in downtown Durham. Refreshments (including beer from Triangle Brewing Company) will also be available. Parking is free and monitored. This is a Strings Attached Production; all profits benefit Urban Ministries of Durham.
Advance tickets are on sale now for $15 ($8 for children 6-12; younger childcare available). Day of show tickets are $20, if available. Checks should be made payable and sent to: Strings Attached Productions PO Box 218 Durham NC 27702. Tickets paid for in advance will be available at the "will call" table at 6:30 PM on the evening of the concert, September 12. Day of show tickets, if available, are $20. Call 682-5708 for more information.

New: Bring an Appetite...Durham's "OnlyBurger" Will Be Serving Up the Best Burgers & Best Fries Outside the Mary Gauthier benefit concert, Friday, 10/24!
The mission of Urban Ministries of Durham is to provide food, clothing, shelter, and counseling to neighbors in need. Every night, UMD provides emergency shelter for up to 150 persons without homes. Every day it serves 350-400 meals to hungry people. An additional 350-400 persons receive groceries for in-home preparation every month. And UMD's clothing closet provides clothes to 180-220 each month. Through its vision as a faith-based service organization recognized for excellence in serving the emergency needs of poor people, Urban Ministries of Durham strives to create a welcoming, caring, and compassionate environment that affirms the dignity of its guests, donors, volunteers, and staff. For more information, visit
High-Res Image of Mary Gauthier and web-quality concert poster images:
Formatted Web Release:
Urban Ministries of Durham:
Mary Gauthier: or
Strings Attached/St. Philip's:

Jonah Kendall, Rector, Saint Philip's Episcopal Church
Rebekah Radisch, Strings Attached, St. Philip's Episcopal Church

A Strings Attached Production (ASAP)

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