Gig review: Paul Brady/Mary Gauthier, Paisley

Mary Gauthier's voice is soothing, her songs candid and mostly dark. Picture: Getty
Mary Gauthier's voice is soothing, her songs candid and mostly dark. Picture: Getty
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“I’d like to sing some happy songs – but I haven’t got any,” joked Mary Gauthier, a songwriter with a dark past and a candid way of sharing it. “Fish swim, birds fly… I drink” went one of her bleak addiction songs.

Paul Brady/Mary Gauthier - Paisley Abbey

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She has a few. But Gauthier doesn’t wallow. There is a redemptive quality to her music and a soothing elegance in her sing-song drawl and conversational delivery, while her paean to the king of the hobos was all empathy.

Although she did not mention him by name during her set, Gauthier would surely identify with the late Gerry Rafferty, a musician who faced his demons in song – and the inspiration for Paisley’s Bring It All Home festival, of which this show was a part.

Headliner Paul Brady paid direct and indirect tribute. He and Rafferty were contemporaries on the late 1960s/early 1970s folk scene, but hearing Rafferty’s Baker Street inspired him to write his own songs – a number of which in this set shared his smooth but plaintive soulful quality. Brady is such an engaging communicator that it is little wonder he has succeeded in building such a diverse repertoire, moving seamlessly from the romantic piano ballad Paradise Is Here to the controlled ire of Nothing But The Same Old Story and pulling off a haunting blend of both in The Island.

Brady’s voice is not the most tender instrument but the humanity in his performances always beguiles.

Seen on 11.04.14