Mary Veronica Gauthier (/ˈɡʃ/ GOH-shay; born March 11, 1962) is a Grammy-nominated American folk singer-songwriter.

Life and career

Gauthier was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born to a mother she never knew and relinquished in St Vincent's Women and Infants Asylum, Gauthier was adopted when she was about a year old by an Italian Catholic couple from Thibodaux, Louisiana.[1] Struggling to deal with being adopted, she used drugs and alcohol.[2] At age 15, she ran away from home, and spent the next several years in drug rehabilitation, halfway houses, and living with friends; she spent her 18th birthday in a jail cell.[2] These experiences provided fodder for her songwriting later on. Spurred on by friends, she enrolled at Louisiana State University as a philosophy major, dropping out during her senior year. After attending the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, she opened a Cajun restaurant in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, Dixie Kitchen (also the title of her first album).[3] Mary ran, and cooked at, the restaurant for eleven years. She was arrested for drunk driving opening night, July 12, 1990, and has been sober ever since. After achieving sobriety, she was driven to dedicate herself full-time to songwriting, and embarked upon a career in music. She wrote her first song at age 35.[4]

She sold her share in the restaurant to finance her second album, Drag Queens in Limousines, in 1998.[3] The summer of the release of this album, she was invited to play 11 major folk festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival. Drag Queens in Limousines won in The 1st Annual Independent Music Awards for Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song, and she was nominated for Best New Artist of the year by the Boston Music Awards. She was nominated for three (GLAMA) and won best country artist of the year. In 2002 her third album, Filth and Fire, was named "Best Indy CD of the year" by Jon Pareles of The New York Times. She moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2001 and secured a publishing deal with Harlan Howard Songs, then secured a record deal with Lost Highway, a division of Universal Music, in 2003. Her first major label release, in 2005, Mercy Now was on the top 10 list for the year in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News, and Billboard Magazine.

She was awarded "New Artist of the Year" by The Americana Music Association the same year. Mercy Now was voted the No. 6 Record of the Decade by No Depression magazine.[5] Her second Lost Highway release, , appeared in September 2007. She has had her songs recorded by numerous artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Bobby Bare, Boy George, Bill Chambers, Mike Farris, Candi Staton, Amy Helm, Kathy Mattea and Bettye LaVette. Mike Farris and Bettye LaVette ("Worthy", by Mary Gauthier and Beth Nielsen Chapman, 2016 Best Blues Record) both received Grammy nominations, and Mike Farris took home the 2015 Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album, which included Gauthier's song "Mercy Now".

Her songs have been used in several TV shows, including Nashville on ABC, Masterpiece Theatre's Case Histories, Showtime's Banshee, HBO's Injustice and Paramount Network's Yellowstone. Her 6th studio record The Foundling was released by Razor & Tie Records in 2010, and was named the No. 3 Record of the Year by Los Angeles Times music writer Randy Lewis.[6] In 2013, she released a Live CD called LIVE at Blue Rock, recorded outside of Austin, TX. Gauthier released her seventh studio album, Trouble and Love, in 2014. She was nominated in 2015 for the GLAAD Outstanding Music Artist of the Year[permanent dead link] at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, held in L.A. Additionally, Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins, released in late 2015 on Austin-based Eight 30 Records, features Gauthier's take on the late Los Angeles busker's signature song Sorry You're Sick.

Rifles & Rosary Beads, her most recent record, called "music that's just plain important" by The Los Angeles Times [1] earned Gauthier her first Grammy nomination in the category of Best Folk Album, and won 2018 Album of the Year at The International Folk Music Awards. Rifles & Rosary Beads was also nominated for 2018 Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association, and Gauthier was named the 2018 International Artist of the Year by the UK Americana Music Association.

Her short stories have been published in several books and magazines, including the book , released by Random House, and The Blue Rock Review, an arts magazine out of Wimberly, TX., and the Capitola Review. She has been featured with her own chapter in several books on country and americana music, including "They Came To Nashville", by Marshall Chapman, and "Right By Her Roots" in Americana Women and Their Songs, by Jewly Height, and a Dutch book on country music De Bezem Door Nashville, by Harry de Jong, with photographs by Henk Bleeker. Her songs are taught at several universities, including Alice Randall's country music lyric in American literature class at Vanderbilt University. Her songs have appeared on Wally Lamb's playlist, Tom Waits's playlist,[7] and Bob Dylan's playlist. She completed a memoir about the art of songwriting called Saved by a Song on St. Martin's Press to be released August 3, 2021. She is a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.


  • Dixie Kitchen (1997)
  • Drag Queens in Limousines (1999)
  • Filth and Fire (2002)
  • Mercy Now (2005)
  • Between Daylight and Dark (2007)
  • Genesis (The Early Years) (2008) – 15-track compilation from the first three albums
  • The Foundling (2010) No. 13 Billboard Americana chart
  • The Foundling Alone (2011) Acoustic demos of songs in development, from The Foundling
  • Live at Blue Rock (2012) 11 mixed new and old tracks plus hidden track, "Mercy Now"
  • Trouble and Love (2014) No. 22 Billboard Americana chart
  • Rifles & Rosary Beads (2018) – co-written with U.S. veterans and their families


  1. ^ Gold, Scott (June 12, 2008), "Change of tune", Los Angeles Times, retrieved January 27, 2010
  2. ^ a b Reighley, Kurt B. (March 29, 2005), "Singing her stories", The Advocate, p. 65, retrieved January 27, 2010
  3. ^ a b Tucker, Karen Iris (November 7, 2000), "Mary, quite contrary", The Advocate, p. 83, retrieved January 27, 2010
  4. ^ Alarik, Scott (October 7, 2005), "Truth be told — Mary Gauthier doesn't shy away from her past", The Boston Globe, retrieved January 27, 2010
  5. ^ "The No Depression Community's Top 20 Albums of the Decade – No Depression Americana and Roots Music". December 2, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Times music writers pick their favorite albums of 2010". Los Angeles Times. December 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Tom Waits Guest Presenter – Daily Planet – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved July 13, 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Mindy Smith
AMA New/Emerging Artist of the Year
Succeeded by
The Greencards
Preceded by
UK Americana Music Association International Artist of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Folk Alliance International Record of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Grammy Nomination for Best Folk Record
Succeeded by
  1. ^ "2019 UK Americana Award Winners". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "Best Of Awards". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "Grammys 2019 Nominees: The Complete List". / Retrieved December 7, 2018.