This was a rare double-header at McCabe's, coming six months after the rather disappointing triple-header involving Dave Alvin, Chris Smither and Peter Case. Just like the aforementioned trio, Mary and Lori received equal billing, but one of them had to go first, so the task of kicking off the proceedings went to Lori McKenna, and for a good reason: most of the people there, myself included, came to see Mary Gauthier.
I'm always open to new artists and new sounds and since I couldn't call myself a Lori McKenna connoisseur, I gave her my full attention. But there was nothing much for me there. Lori's melodic sense and mine are definitely not in alignment. Nor did I find her voice and singing style appealing. Same goes for her guitar playing, which consisted of not much more than just endless strumming. Was it just me? Maybe so, because she was well-received by the crowd, no doubt about that.
And that highlights the problem with double-headers: if one of the acts doesn't do much for you, then all you get is an abbreviated set from the other performer, as was the case with Mary Gauthier's short, but otherwise great performance. She took the stage for just barely over fifty minutes, and that left me craving for much more.
Throughout the show, Mary Gauthier was accompanied by Canadian fiddler Tania Elizabeth, who also provided harmony vocals. Mary was in her typical great form, vocally and otherwise. She sang nothing but her own compositions, not a single dud among them. "Mercy Now" was conspicuously absent from her set, but there were plenty of other great songs. The ones I liked the best were "Drag Queens And Limousines", "I Drink", "Christmas In Paradise", "Karla Faye" and "Wheel Inside The Wheel".
|Mary Gauthier's song list (not the actual set list)|
|The final bow - Mary Gauthier (right), with Tania Elizabeth|
|Mary Gauthier chatting with fans after the show|
|Lori McKenna at McCabe's|
|Lori McKenna's set list|
|A rather modest poster in the window at McCabe's|
|Nancy and My Better Half, seated at McCabe's|