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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is another very fine album from the great Mary Gauthier. It's been four years since The Foundling and she has come up with another intensely personal album of excellent, autobiographical songs - this time telling the story of a relationship break-up, the consequent emotional damage and the beginnings of recovery.

As you'd expect, these are songs of real quality. They are beautifully crafted with straightforward, singable tunes which form great settings for the personal, emotionally powerful lyrics. Gauthier's admirers (like me) will know what to expect and won't be disappointed; she's doing what she does best here and doing it brilliantly. While perhaps not quite as raw as she was in The Foundling, this is nonetheless an album of pain seeking balm and redemption, which she expresses as few others can. How You Learn To Live Alone, for example is a profound and oddly beautiful evocation of the withdrawal from life which can follow intense emotional hurt and is an outstandingly honest and insightful song. That slightly fractured voice, her acoustic guitar and a brilliant group of musicians and singers bring all these songs to life wonderfully. The arrangement and production are pitch-perfect, making everything shine without ever swamping it.

I loved The Foundling even though it wasn't a commercial success. Trouble & Love is a bit more accessible, I think, but it shares a lot of what I loved about The Foundling - thoughtful, sincere and meaningful songs with good tunes and great performances. Here we have just eight songs and a total of about 40 minutes of music. No padding or superfluous material; Mary Gauthier has distilled what she wants to say into this eight-chapter story and it's just brilliant. It has the enduring beauty which comes from being built on noble bones, and I think I will be playing this for many years to come.

There have been excellent albums recently from two other greats of the genre with Eliza Gilkyson's Nocturne Diaries The Nocturne Diaries and Kris Delmhorst's Blood Test Blood Test. If anything, I think this is my favourite of the three, which is really saying something. I recommend this very warmly to anyone who likes an intelligent, listenable song performed by a singer/songwriter who really knows what she's talking about and means what she says. It's truly excellent.
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on 15 August 2014
A wonderful collection of songs of a human in pain but attempting to make sense of life's rich tapestry and move on. Using the song crafting process to work through deep personal pain is no guarantee of artistic success or merit . However Ms. Gauthier (pron. Go-shay) is a mistress of the domain. The ability to document the raw side of life is bread-and-butter to this Louisianian but on 'Trouble and Love' she excels on her previous works which I love.

For me the stand out track is 'How You Learn to Live Alone' and it is surely no coincidence that Buddy Miller, no slouch to the songwriting craft himself, picked that song to feature in ABC's 'Nashville' - shown in the Uk on More4 - on which he was the Musical Producer.

This is a dark album as you would expect given the subject matter but the closing track 'Another Train' at least hints that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. Thanks Mary for the songs, sorry for the pain that inspired them, but more power to your elbow. This is a great introduction to the works of Mary Gauthier - she is a warm and engaging performer, a regular visitor to these islands, so enjoy this CD, and others, and find time to see her perform/discuss these songs too!
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on 15 May 2015
The music on this CD has been reviewed a few times, and most of the comments are accurate - this is wonderful music. In fact, I'll go as far as to say this is Mary's best work to date. As Dylan wrote much of Blood on the Tracks from the perspective of lost love, so now we have a modern incarnation of broken hearts and bruised souls. That alone doesn't make a great recording - it becomes great if and when the artist couples it with melodies that elevate the subject matter to another level, as has been done here. These are singable tunes that act as ear worms and stay with you. It's fantastic stuff.

However, I'm on the line of giving it three or four stars, and have opted for three. In this day and age, with decreasing market share for physical CD's, I suppose we shouldn't expect too much. But this music deserved a better presentation than this. I like Digipacs (although I have nothing against Jewel cases) - but sometimes, as is the case here, they come off as cheap and nasty. In previous releases we have been treated with nice booklets with Mary's releases, with lyrics and pictures. That is not the case here. In fact, there is NO booklet at all. The digipac opens out to display the CD on one side, and the track credits (only) on the left hand side. That's your lot.

I paid full price for this music, and feel short-changed. Not musically, this is fantastic stuff. However, if you are torn between physical media or the download, then you might want to consider the latter. At least now you know what to expect.
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on 1 August 2014
What a wonderful album this is. Each song is exquisitely crafted...touching, moving, at times sad, but trust me when I tell you, that you will want to play or over and over again. Perhaps it is because the lyrics say in a few short words, what it would take each os us a life time to express.

There is a maturity to this work. It is written with love, not bitterness and only a dash of regret and always with a degree of sophistication.
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on 15 August 2014
Probably Mary's most personal album. Isn't it a shame that the most heartfelt songs seem to need heartbreak. Very interesting to read her comments on her website about the recording of the album and how they achieved the 'live' feel to the music.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2014
Mary Gauthier has produced the perfect album with Trouble & Love: eight melancholy songs about relationships, each one finely crafted, honest and performed brilliantly.The band behind her plays tastefully and never gets in the way. I'm playing it again and again and have booked tickets to see her later this year. Highly recommended.
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on 19 June 2014
Another haunting in-depth analysis of Mary's train wreck of a love life, put to music. This lady really suffers for her art, and the pain and loss metamorphose into songs of outstanding beauty.
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on 10 July 2014
Every time i listen to this album i have a new favourite song , that must tell you something.
A complete work , cohesive and beautiful , i would class this as Mary's best effort to date , an utter masterpiece.
Frustrating, of course, that such a unique piece of work should contain only 8 songs but i can assure you : there's years of listening here. It's a deep work of passion , emotion and beauty , something she can be proud of. Unique and beautiful , without doubt my favourite album of 2014 so far , i can't take it off !
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on 14 July 2014
The first Gauthier album I bought, and I love it. I would like others but the prices are a bit scary, all in all a good album with much melancholy very well written and performed.
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on 13 March 2016
Stone groove, if a little on the dark sad side, but it's Mary. Emotionally powerful material and nice to listen to.
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