Singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier has had her songs recorded by the likes by Blake Shelton, Jimmy Buffett, and Tim McGraw and has made several appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, but I was particularly impressed to learn that Bob Dylan knows Mary’s story and featured her work in one of his music showcases.
One of the causes that Mary is passionate about is helping veterans to work through the trauma that they faced in combat. She has partnered with SongwritingWith:Soldiers to collaborate with veterans to write songs that explore the emotional truths of their war-time experiences. This cause is so important to Mary that she partnered with Veterans Airlift Command to fly in veteran Josh Geartz so that perform with her at the Grand Ole Opry.
This connection can save lives. It literally can save lives.” – Mary Gauthier
Mary’s upcoming album, Rifles & Rosary Beads, comes out in January 2018, and all the songs in it are co-written with veterans connected to SongwritingWith:Soldiers. Mary and her team graciously shared “Bullet Holes in the Sky,” one of the songs from the new album, which you can hear it at the end of our episode.
Some of the things that we discuss include
- How Mary’s early traumas shaped her development as an artist
- Mary’s approach to getting her songs on the radar of prominent recording artists
- A technique for getting laconic veterans to open up about the struggles they’ve faced
- Why taking care of our veterans is a unifying issue across the political spectrum
- How can artists effectively speak up about challenging social issues
- Finding success in the music industry while staying sober
- Learning to listen for the God lines
Want to hear another veteran-related episode?
Check out this interview with Justin Roberts, a chaplain who followed his battalion into Afghanistan and back and made a documentary called No Greater Love, currently in select theaters.
General Stanley McCrystal said of the film “No Greater Love cuts to the heart of why our warriors serve and needs to be seen by every American.” Show notes are here.
Sponsor for this Episode
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- Mary’s site
- Mary on
- Mary’s keynote at CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference 2017
- Trent Reznor’s interview on Vulture (my take: how not to take on decisive issues)
- No Greater Love film
- Thank You for Your Service film
- Trent’s War, my short film about a soldier battling PTSD
Music for the show provided by Rob Costlow
- Mary’s songs
- “I Drink” (recorded by Tim McGraw)
- “Mercy Now”
- “Wheel Inside the Wheel” (recorded by Jimmy Buffett)
- “Worthy” (cowritten with Beth Nielsen, recorded by Bettye LaVette)
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