Mary Gauthier enjoys the process of writing.
It’s one that she can take the time to create.
“I’m always manifesting something,” Gauthier says. “Writing is so common because I’m always writing. When I get enough songs, it excites me. As the number of songs grows, they start to become part of a package.”
Gauthier is hitting the road for some shows with Tim O’Brien, Jan Fabricius and Jaimee Harris. They are calling it the “True Heart Troubadour Tour” and it will make two stops in New Mexico – on Thursday, March 16, at the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, and a sold-out show at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales on Friday, March 17.
“Before I leave for the tour, I’m teaching a writing workshop,” Gauthier says. “I’ve been working with 15 songwriters and it’s a joy for me to work with them.”
Gauthier released her latest album, “Dark Enough to See the Stars” in 2022. It is also her 11th album in her more than 25-year music career.
The process for this album saw Gauthier traversing the uncharted waters of the past few years.
“I’m the kind of songwriter who writes what I see in the world right now,” she says. “When it starts to look like I have five or six songs, I realize that this might be something that is on the next record.”
Gauthier has always written from a personal place.
Though she admits, some songs aren’t about her life.
With this album, she found ways to pay homage to the devastating losses of John Prine, David Olney, Nanci Griffith, and her beloved friend Betsy.
“The nature of being a writer is that I make it appear that it’s personal,” she says. “It doesn’t mean those characters actually exist. My life experiences are going to be in there, but it’s through the character’s voice that I’m telling this story. My songs are being sung by a narrator. I need them to come alive.”
Gauthier will team up with O’Brien, Fabricius and Harris on stage.
“We’ll do a good old-fashioned song swap,” she says. “(Jaimee and I) connected strongly with Tim and his wife Jan during the pandemic as we did live stream shows. Once it became possible to tour again, we put these dates together. We will play off of each other for the whole show.”
Gauthier and Harris, who sings harmony throughout the album, co-wrote the paean to one of Gauthier’s favorite cities.
“I have a long history with Amsterdam,” Gauthier says. “My first record deal was on a Dutch label, and I tour there regularly, and much of ‘Mercy Now’ was written at my favorite hotel there.”
A canceled flight to Denmark landed Gauthier and Harris in Amsterdam for an unexpected three days during the pandemic.
“To return to that hotel and be able to share that with the person I love and show her the city,” Gauthier says. “It’s complicated – because all around the edges was the pandemic. But you’ve got to express your joy – a joy that’s not free from pain. There’s grief all around us, but there’s this ability to still love and still be aware that the sky is beautiful and the hand that I’m holding is filled with love.”