Saturday, March 04, 2006

Steve Gilmore Remembers: Mary Gottschalk

Artist: Mary Gottschalk
Title: Artist Overview In Memoriam

I like to think - given my age and supposed experience - that I am a fairly unshockable person but the events over the past week or so have proved that assumption about as wrong as it can be. The untimely and tragic death of one of MP3 Unsigned most loved artists, Canadian singer/songwriter Mary Gottschalk, has cast a pall of sadness over that site that is almost palpable. To those people who say that online life is not 'real' or 'relevant' I can only shake my head in wonder. Friends are friends, online or off it, in my books and Mary Gottschalk was my friend and I am overwhelmed at the impact her death has had on me and the many others whose life she touched in that special way she had. I have known Mary for over two years and watched her turn from an unsure newbie into a confident, assured artist whose musical style and valued site contributions touched a great many people. Whenever someone needed that special touch, Mary was always there to give it. In my worldview, there is a marked difference between the 'real deal' movers and shakers of the online indie musicial world, and those who view this whole thing as some kind of game.

The real deal involves an attitude and sense of humanity that is all too rare on the internet; and Mary typified that breed. Always open and welcoming to even the most irritating of newbie questions, I never saw Mary fall into the same wiseass trap that a great many of us do when faced with the inevitable 'how do I?' questions. Moreover, when someone was having trouble, she was always there with a kind word, a caring gesture or even a shoulder to cry on. Alongside such kindness and humanity, Mary's online personna became a staple of MP3 Unsigned's forum life and within a couple of days of her not posting, questions were being asked as to her whereabouts - so quickly was her presence missed. Mary passed away on Thursday 23rd February 2006 after a fall at work lead to complications which ultimately proved too much for her great spirit. Consequently, the last week or so has - for me and a great many other people - been one of the most saddening experiences of my online life.

It was only over the last six months or so that I actually got to know Mary personally and we chatted or emailed each other most days and it's that personal contact I will miss the most. However, what saddens me more was that just as she was beginning to make serious headway with her music, it should all come to such a sudden end. However, she does leave behind some music that will show people who were not lucky enough to know her, just what made her so special. For me, the track that finally showed me just HOW good she had become was the awesome Silent Storm (January 2006) which got Mary her first Must Have from me. Even though it's a ballad, and I have a well documented fierce dislike of this style, the warmth and emotion that poured from her voice and the song's excellence won me over from the very first. When we knew she had passed away, it was that track that I went to for affirmation of her endless, boundless spirit and it didn't let me down. More so knowing that she wrote it for 'a friend who was under the weather'. Even now - as I write these words a week later - I still have tears rolling down my cheeks and I don't care because she touched me deeply and I am not afraid to say I loved her and I will miss her terribly. Her music will, however, live on and I strongly urge you to give this artist a listen and understand just WHY she made such a terrific impact. It seems only fitting that I leave the last words of this review to Mary herself to sum up - in her own words - her philosphy on life. Hold on, hold on tight. Capsized by a river of fright, hold on when days turn to night, hold on, hold… from Silent Storm. I’m afraid of the answers, as I’m not sure what I’d find, and if I stop walking, I’d go out of my mind. I know it’s confusing, I know things could go right, I know there is a reason, let those reasons turn on light from There's A Reason. Dare to show compassion, enough blood has been shed. They’ll be no more room for hatred, when hearts are filled with love instead from Unity.

RIP Mary, an angel who came to earth to sing for us all for a while...

3 comments:

Susan Gottschalk said...

Steve ~

Your kind and gentle words brought tears to my eyes! I have listened to and will continue to enjoy Mary's music ~

I, too, hold "Silent Storm" in high regard. As I listen to this haunting but magical piece, I reflect on my dear sister, Mary ~ a true angel forever sending hugs from heaven. She was indeed a caring soul with a playful spirit.

Thank you dear sir for allowing me to 'hold on' to my loving sister and her music a little longer.

Bless you!
Susan xo
@--}--
(Mary Gottschalk's sister)

Susan Gottschalk said...

Steve ~

Your kind and gentle words brought tears to my eyes! I have listened to and will continue to enjoy Mary's music ~

I, too, hold "Silent Storm" in high regard. As I listen to this haunting but magical piece, I reflect on my dear sister, Mary ~ a true angel forever sending hugs from heaven. She was indeed a caring soul with a playful spirit.

Thank you dear sir for allowing me to 'hold on' to my loving sister and her music a little longer.

Bless you!
Susan xo
@--}--
(Mary Gottschalk's sister)

Anonymous said...

Mr Gilmore,your tribute to Mary was beautiful and so lovely, her sister Susan sent me the link,,,,,,someone had sent it to her,,,,,,I have been an internet friend of Susan's since we both quite smoking,,and we are suppose to meet in June,,,,I have read many of the messages on the forums of the unsigned site,,,it is a wonderful bunch of people~~~I became familar with her wonderful voice after hearing her sing the song she did for her sister Susan who many years agao had been brutally abused,,,,,,if you have not heard it it is called "Susan's Song",at least that is what I call it,,,,,,,again thank you so much for such wonderful words to the memory of Mary!!! I did not know her, but feel I did via her sister,who is so much like her,,,Nina F.,,,,,USA,,,,,,(lilac1241@yahoo.com)