Since the debut, Mary Gauthier has written several deeply personal songs about life's hardships. This time she has been collaborating with war veterans and their relatives to achieve an almost unbearably strong result.
Gauthier presents eleven different perspectives of the the horrors of war, each of them written together with a veteran. They deal with the guilt towards those who didn't make it back, the divided feelings towards the tribute on Veterans Day, drug problems, agonizing memories and the loneliness in the civil society where nobody but other veterans really understand what they've been through.
But the songs are simultaneously about pride, the vital support from loved ones and the fellowship on the battlefield, where you have to be able to trust each other one hundred percent to have a chance to survive.
Gauthier has penetrated into and found the soul of the stories and she wraps them in a fitting acoustic costume. Her voice is better than ever and she articulates every single syllable. There's something unconstrained and stripped over the entire album, which makes it possible to really dig into the lyrical content. Gauthier rarely makes any big gestures, yet she manages to reflect and channel all the emotions that are contained in the stories of the veterans, from anger and desperation to tenderness and indifference. The result is magnificent, beautiful, and touching. Rifles and Rosary Beads may very well be Gauthier's strongest record to date.