Just as acclaimed songwriter Mary Gauthier stepped on stage, the rain started coming down, after an entire day of sun. “I’m the right songwriter for this burst of weather,” she joked.
After a few songs (she opened with For Rose) she said, “I’m just gonna play one sad song after another, it suits the weather. I do have one uplifting song, but I’m going to save it for last.”
Before Last of the Hobo Kings she talked about how she had met Steam Train Maury Graham through the obituaries in the New York Times and that he was the “king of the hobos” according to the paper, but she considered Utah Phillips to be the king so she had to go online to find out more.
Apparently, she said, there’s a hobo convention in which they vote for the King and Queen of the hobos and that Steam Train Maury had won the most times. She continued to say that the funeral home had a page for people to remember him on and that’s when the got out the guitar to write a song because the hobos don’t say someone passed on but that they “caught the West bound” and that she could just see all the hobos in the camp with their hobo stew and making a cup of hobo coffee and “firing up their laptop computers” and searching for some free wi-fi to update their “Facebook pages and read emails and write their memories of Steam Train Maury.”
She brought out Ed Romanoff for Killing the Blues and Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler from Over The Rhine to join in on Mercy Now.
She ended her set with Wheel Inside the Wheel, a song she wrote for Dave Carter. Saying she was intimidated by writing a song for him she looked up at the sky and asked for a little help. “I heard Johnny Cash, Book of Ezekiel, kid, Book of Ezekiel and I heard New Orleans. So this is a combination of those three.”