07 November 2007

Mary Gauthier - "Between Daylight and Dark"

Between Daylight and Dark
Mary Gauthier
CD Release Date: 18 September 2007

Between Daylight and Dark, as a title, calls to mind twilight, that unusual part of the day when the daily grind gives way to night life.  Oddly, none of the ten songs of this set really explore either.  "Snakebit" is a swampy sounding song with very dark lyrics about a life of seediness and violence.  That it opens the album is interesting, because it's the sort of thing that would be quietly tucked away in the interior of most albums.  Whomever sequenced the album need not have worried that "Snakebit" would have been lost elsewhere in the album; it's the only song of the ten that has its own sound.

It's not that the acoustic, folk nature of the album is unappealing.  It's not that Mary Guathier's scratchy Louisiana vocals are monotonous.  The problem is that the songs just don't seem to be different from one another.  Part of the problem may be that six of the ten songs have a running time of at least five minutes.  Perhaps the old standard of three minutes for commercial airplay is unnecessarily restrictive, but there does come a point as a listener when the importance of editing becomes apparent.  Simply put, there is nothing about any of these songs that really demands to keep going.  They just...do.

Between Daylight and Dark is hardly an album designed for driving or hosting friends.  It does, however, lend itself to a quiet night by yourself, perhaps with a bourbon and Coke, and maybe a cigar.  There is clear promise at work throughout the album, though.  Gauthier's vocals never try to strongarm the lyrics, and the arrangements are inviting.  Perhaps on her next album, though, she will explore more sounds and moods and give us an album that takes us different places.

Note: I received this CD free as a member of the Lost Highway Street Team.

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