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As an Americana singer-songwriter, Gauthier has always had a terse, understated style that cuts to the bone.
Here the recovering substance abuser puts those qualities to work, and summons her considerable empathy, as she crafts the stories of real veterans into 11 devastatingly frank and gut-wrenching songs.
"What saves you in the battle can kill you at home," Gauthier observes in the slow-building opener, Soldiering On.
That theme of combat’s lasting psychic wounds, to soldiers and families, resurfaces throughout the set.
• Mary Gauthier. Rifles and Rosary Beads. In the Black.
• ★★★★ (out of five)
— Nick Cristiano/TCA