Mary Gauthier performs live and shares her difficult road to becoming a professional songwriter during a 2015 Songwriter Session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, presented in partnership with the Americana Music Association.
Gauthier explains that she had trouble with drugs and alcohol for much of her life, but became sober at twenty-seven. Twelve-step meetings offered consistent inspiration for a budding songwriter, she jokes, recalling overheard advice from an older member to a younger one: “Fish swim, birds fly, and drunks drink.” She performs the song that interaction inspired, “I Drink”—her first big cut, recorded by Blake Shelton.
Gauthier also talks about the influence of hit songwriter Harlan Howard, and how being signed to the Country Music Hall of Fame member's publishing company, Harlan Howard Songs, allowed her access to his catalog of never-before recorded songs. She performs Howard’s “Just Say She’s a Rhymer,” which she decided to record herself.
Gauthier talks about co-writing in Nashville, and how being set up with writers she’d never met before initially felt awkward, but helped her build connections in town. She remembers an early co-write with Liz Rose, who’s had hits recorded by stars including Taylor Swift.
Among the other songs Mary Gauthier performs during her Songwriter Session: her own “Mercy Now,” and “Bullet Holes in the Sky,” a song co-written with veteran Jamie Trent through the non-profit organization Songwriting With: Soldiers.
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