Like fellow Louisiana native Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier sings with a molasses drawl moist with glistening droplets of emotion and has an extraordinary ability to etch pain and hardship into noirish Southern gothic fables. There's a stark eloquence in her poetry ("Clouds are spreading like bruises on the evening sky") and sinewy elegance in her haunting alt-country music, usually streaked with fiddle and steel. Gauthier writes finely detailed, metaphor-rich tunes about hobos, death row, drinking, and life on the fringe, often using her own circumstances as raw material. Her last studio album, The Foundling, for instance, revolves around questions of identity arising from her adoption as an infant. On her latest, Live at Blue Rock, recorded in Texas, Gauthier leads a lean trio through a smart assortment of her most memorable tunes, delivered with fearless intimacy and the raw power of naked emotion. Trampled By Turtles' Dave Simonett will also perform. $20, 8 p.m. 80 Fourth St. W., St. Paul; 651.343.7665.
Thu., Feb. 21, 8 p.m., 2013