A genuine triumph: Mary Gauthier, Mindy Smith, and others dazzle at the “Girls with Guitars” flood-relief benefit

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

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Middle Tennessee has been devastated by flooding from which it will take months—in some cases years—to recover. Please join the recovery effort by contacting Hands on Nashville at Hon.org or by calling (in Nashville) 211. Otherwise, please call 800-318-9355. You can also support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts by going to Salarmy-Nashville.com of calling 800-725-2769.  Thank you.

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A genuine triumph: Mary Gauthier, Mindy Smith, and others dazzle at the “Girls with Guitars” flood-relief benefit

If you’re lucky enough to live in Nashville, you have the opportunity to see great live Americana, rock, and country music every night.  It can take a lot to dazzle us—but Mindy Smith, Mary Gauthier, and the “Girls with Guitars” did just that Tuesday evening at 3rd & Lindsley.

The show was both a reunion of the legendary “Girls with Guitars” troupe that played in underground Nashville regularly during the 2000s (and which helped launch the careers of Mindy Smith and Mary Gauthier), and—even more importantly—a focused effort to raise flood-relief funds for Musiccares Nashville Flood Relief.  It accomplished both objectives magnificently, providing some of the most mesmerizing performances in recent memory.

After a batch of thoroughly enjoyable opening tunes from long-time GWG regulars (including the hilarious “J. Edgar Hoover was a Girl”), the mood turned more serious and reflective as a   pensive-looking Mindy Smith wowed the crowd with acoustic versions of her hits “Jolene,” “Tennessee,” and “Come to Jesus.” (I especially appreciated that Mindy didn’t cop the sometimes-common attitude among well-known artists of ‘I’m way to cool to play my hits for you.’)  The effect of Mindy’s performance was to turn a room previously bustling with noise into a hang-on-every-note listening room. People were absolutely mesmerized.

Which is exactly where they stayed for Mary Gauthier’s riveting performance of “Mercy Now,” and two other gems. Fresh from an interview with the London Times and a laudatory review of her new album The Foundling by No Depression, Mary showed why she is widely considered, with Mindy Smith, one of the world’s greatest Americana artists.

At the end of the evening, as Mary shyly exited the stage, the host announced the event had raised thousands of dollars for Nashville flood victims. To hear that—even as you’d just been treated to such world-class Americana music—truly made for an unforgettable night.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

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