The Foundling

The Foundling

by Mary Gauthier
5.0 1

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The Foundling

Singer and songwriter Mary Gauthier's recordings have always been peopled with the restless and lost, some terminally, others temporally. Her protagonists ask lots of questions. Some of them are nakedly transparent mirror images of herself or thinly disguised representations. She's conscious of it, because in her songs the only things that matter are the questions. She strips everything unnecessary in order to ask them unflinchingly. On The Foundling, she asks the biggest questions of all: "Who am I?," "Where do I come from?," and "What do I do when I find out?" Gauthier was surrendered shortly after her birth to an orphanage, where she remained for a year before being adopted. She ran away at age 15 and never went back. After a raucous wandering spirit's life worthy of a Townes Van Zandt tale, she found her place in the world as a songwriter. She eventually tracked her birth mother down, who, in a phone conversation, ultimately refused to meet with her. Gauthier's records have never been easy emotionally, but this one is beyond loaded. That said, it's devoid of self-pity or any other trappings that could -- and more often than not do -- make many purposely autobiographical albums musical failures. Gauthier recorded The Foundling in Canada with producer Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies; the pair used local musicians as well as Timmins' sister Margo on backing vocals. Timmins documented these songs without artifice. Backed by (mostly) acoustic instruments, his mix is natural and intimate. Gauthier uses folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, and her trademark gothic Americana to detail her story from the beginning, where an insatiable hole was dug to a conclusion where acceptance became the rite of redemption. The road is precarious; some of Gauthier's lines are scathing in their poetic observations and revelations. She co-wrote some of the album's best songs: "March 11, 1962" and "Sideshow" with Liz Rose, "Another Day Borrowed" with Darrell Scott, and "Blood Is Blood" with Crit Harmon, though others are superior to even these. One has to wonder if these collaborations were to keep her balance and focus on such a risky tightrope. Whatever the strategy, it works magnificently. There is no album in her catalog like The Foundling; it's a terrible beauty whose jewels gleam darkly, endlessly. Its songs hold truth for anyone who has either shared this experience or merely has the willingness to ask difficult questions with an open heart.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/18/2010
Label: Razor & Tie
UPC: 0793018309929
catalogNumber: 83099

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary Gauthier   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jaro Czerwinec   Accordion
Garth Hudson   Piano,Accordion,Keyboards
Margo Timmins   Background Vocals
Michael Timmins   Acoustic Guitar,Slide Guitar
Danny Ellis   Trombone
Jessie O'Brien   Organ,Wurlitzer
Tania Elizabeth   Fiddle
Ed Romanoff   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Josh Finlayson   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Hi String
Ray Ferrugia   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Darrell Scott   Composer
Michael Timmins   Producer,Engineer
Gail Marowitz   Art Direction
Ed Romanoff   Composer
Mary Gauthier   Composer
Crit Harmon   Composer
Liz Rose   Composer
Gregory Armstrong   Poetry
Lilli Carré   Illustrations

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The Foundling 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
hardboiled_mystery_fan More than 1 year ago
"The Foundling" is another gem of a CD from Mary Gauthier. She decided to write an album that told a narrative, in this case, her own story of being abandoned at birth and her search 40 years later for her birth mother. Ms. Gauthier said that she was inspired by a Willie Nelson album, where he, too, presented a unified theme across the songs. The songs are very personal and poignant, especially the rejection Ms. Gauthier experienced when she finally located and found the courage to call her birth mother ("you say I'm a secret--nobody knows--and you can't talk about it now, and you really gotta go"). This is a lovely album, and it is highly recommended for those of you who like folk singers who write intimate songs that are rich and meaningful. Ms. Gauthier has her own very individualistic style of composing songs, and each of her albums just gets better and better.