Being only the second track on the album it was going to take a hell of a lot to beat Last of the Hobo Kings, for me. While it remains one of my new top favourites of all time, there are many others worthy of such a title. This one in particular however, is one of those songs that stand out a mile, even amongst such a mix of amazing tunes. It has a character and style that renders the vivid images of the true story of Old Steam Train Maury who, ‘knew how the nation was doing by the length of a sidewalk cigarette butt’ as he walked around with his, ‘walking stick sceptre and shredded coffee can crown…’. It sounds like it belongs to the traditional folk pantheon such is the skill with which it was written. It is gorgeous with its delicate mourning country roots, sensational strings and some aptly placed harmonica. It has me going goosebump crazy from start to finish and I could write pages and pages just about this one song but still not do it justice. It really has absolutely everything I’d equate with musical perfection.
Then there’s the heartbreaking and emotional autobiographical song, Blood is Blood. No doubt touching on Mary’s feelings about having been adopted and feeling for a long time like something was missing from her life. It’s that something that roots us into life purpose and gives us a sense of comfort with our identities. It is thus something which everyone can relate to. The song hits you right in the gut first off before covering your heart with its shadow. It nevertheless leaves behind a sense of personal enlightenment demonstrating the secret power therein.
The devastating and tragic story of Karla Faye is told via another song with deep country roots. It draws on the delicate soul of a very lost and troubled young girl. The emotional force with which it is performed, thanks both to Mary’s leading vocals but also Tania Elizabeth’s backing vocals on the chorus and her accompanying violin throughout. It should pull hard on your heart strings and if it doesn’t then you have a cold heart. Not that I’m passing judgement.
I only wish my words could heap enough praise on Live At Blue Rock or indeed upon undeniably one of the best singer-songwriters from across the pond I've had the distinct pleasure to be introduced to since starting to write these reviews. This I don’t just get from this one album, as remarkable as it is. I’ve done a little digging, checked out numerous live videos and read a few interviews. One thing’s for sure, Mary Gauthier is one phenomenal and talented spirit I intend to get to know much better.