[31 July 2014]
PopMatters Assistant Editor
Americana troubadour Mary Gauthier has released a new video from her recently released album, Trouble & Love. The song, “Oh Soul”, is wonderfully complemented by photographs from the reputed photographer Jack Spencer, which are hung on string as Gauthier plays a heartfelt lamentation on her guitar.
Gauthier explains the process that informed the album, saying, “I started the process in a lot of grief; I’d lost a lot. So the first batch of songs was just too sad. It was like walking too close to the fire. I had to back off from it. The truth is that when you’re in the amount of grief I was in, it’s an altered state. Life is not that. You go through that. We human beings have this built-in healing mechanism that’s always pushing us toward life. I didn’t want to write just darkness, because that’s not the truth. I had to write through the darkness to get to the truth. Writing helped me back onto my feet again. This record is about getting to a new normal. It’s a transformation record.”
“Oh Soul” is certainly a strong representative of the album’s grief-driven songwriting. Gauthier tells PopMatters more about the tune: “‘Oh Soul’ is an allegorical tale of betrayal, loss and prayer for redemption. The singer finds herself filled with remorse, having sold her soul for something her heart desired. The story takes place at the foot of Robert Johnson’s grave down in Greenwood, Mississippi. Robert Johnson, who allegedly sold his soul to achieve success, was the first of what has now become a long procession of musicians/singers/songwriters to die at age 27. Referred to as ‘The 27 Club’, its members include Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and dozens more. The singer is turning to Robert’s spirit, at his gravesite, to ask him for help, before it is too late.”
The video was directed by Molly Secours & Julian Chojnacki.
Trouble & Love is out now through CD Baby.