Moving songs from a wild and troubled youth

American singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier.
American singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier.
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Making her third appearance at String Jam Club on Thursday, June 1, is American singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier.

Originally hailing from Baton Rouge in Louisiana, the life of Mary Gauthier (pronounced go-shay) reads like a classic heartbreak country song.

As a newborn baby, she was left on the steps of St Vincent’s Infants Home in New Orleans and eventually adopted by a family led by an alcoholic father. At the age of 15, she stole the family car, ran away and spent years drunk or high on heroin in the company of society’s outcasts, or as she describes them in her award-winning song: “Drag queens in limousines, nuns in blue jeans, dreamers with big dreams, poets and AWOL Marines, actors and bar flies, writers with dark eyes, drunks who philosophize.”

She finally got clean at the age of 29 and wrote her first song aged 35.

Mary is a storyteller in gritty Southern Gothic-shaded style. Her life story and songwriting are inextricably linked - unwaveringly honest and unflinching, digging emotional depths but profoundly resonant with the recurring themes of love, redemption, hope and healing.

Rated as “one of the major artists of our time” by BBC Radio Two’s DJ Whispering Bob Harris, Mary has nine acclaimed albums to her name, her most recently released ‘Trouble and Love’ is surely the best one yet.

It includes co-writes with fellow Americana songwriting legends Gretchen Peters and Beth Nielson Chapman.

Mary’s live shows are unique, uplifting and very affecting, the kind of experience you keep for life. With a voice full of rust and road dirt, she transports her audiences to a better place. Despite the fact that her songs are peopled by cast-offs, misfits, odd balls, the broken-hearted and worse, Gauthier embraces them all - her warmth, humour and honesty shining through.

Mary has received standing ovations from all three floors of the Grand Ole Opry, the Mecca of Nashville, and when the New York Times declares that this artist may one day assume the mantle of Johnny Cash, you know you are going to experience something very special!

Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £20 from the County Hotel, Selkirk, 01750 721233.