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Filth & Fire

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Album Review

Produced by ex-Lucinda Williams collaborator Gurf Morlix, Mary Gauthier's (pronounced "go-shay") third effort, Filth & Fire, is a startlingly honest collection of sketches drawn from the downtrodden lives of marginal Southern characters. The minimal guitar playing found on Gauthier's last albums is here replaced by the beautifully wrought guitar fills that characterized Lucinda's earlier efforts. Gurf's obvious presence, however, isn't the only reason that comparisons to Williams are being made: Gauthier possesses the unflinching insight and deft songwriting skills missing from the work of so many contemporaries of the Steve Earle/Lucinda singer/songwriter tradition. "Camelot Motel," for example, the album's centerpiece, creates a mosaic of dismal snapshots taken through tightly drawn drapes into the smoke-filled rooms of a dingy motel. "Sugar Cane" is a dark autobiographical account of a child's life in Thibodaux, LA, during the sugar cane burning — "Dirty air, dirty laundry, dirty money, dirty rain/A dirty dark-eyed daybreak, burnin' the sugar cane" — delivered in her thick Bayou drawl. The album-closing "The Sun Fades the Color of Everything" is an achingly beautiful love song about two Dylanesque wanderers. Hailed as "the best singer/songwriter album" of 2002 by Geoffrey Himes (No Depression), Filth & Fire is a must-hear for fans of "country noir."

Customer Reviews


Mary Gauthier's music is absolutely amazing. Filth & Fire is definitely one of my favorite albums (along with Mercy), although all her music is incredible - music from her soul that touches me in a way that is very cathartic. I'm so glad I discovered Mary Gauthier.

Amazing Album!

I bought this album from Mary herself at the Riverbend Festival, it was most-def not money wasted. All the songs on this CD are great, and it has great re-listening value. In additon to being a great singer/songwriter, she's just about one of the nicest performers that I've ever met.

Tour de force!!

A fantastic & dreamy journey into the love, struggle & darkness of living and surviving, thank you Mary for this seminal work, a masterpiece, and yes, a tour de force!! Comparable work would be Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks", Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love" & "Nebraska" and Cowboys Junkies' "Trinity Session".


Born: March 11, 1962 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alt-country singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier exploded onto the scene in 1999 following her self-released sophomore effort, Drag Queens in Limousines. The album, which garnered her a Crossroads Silver Star and a four-star rating in Rolling Stone, had critics comparing her self-described "country noir" to the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Prine, and, not surprisingly, Lucinda Williams. The success of Drag Queens led to main-stage shows at festivals around the country and multiple tours...
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