VERY few singer/songwriters do melancholic misery better than Gretchen Peters, and we’re grateful for that. Especially when the maudlin melodies are laced with clever, thought-provoking lyrics and their performance bridged by charming and witty anecdotes about how they were
Ably supported by husband Barry Walsh on piano and accordion and Canadian multi-instrumentalist Chrtstine Bougie on lap steel, guitar and percussion, Peters capably demonstrated her craft. as a wonderful writer and polished performer of sincere songs, presented with style and grace.
Woman On The Wheel, from her latest album Hello Cruel World, opened the show and featured some nice steel guitar from Bougie, before Peters moved on to Sunday Morning (“Up and down my street”) on which virtuoso hubby Barry managed to play both the Steinway grand piano and a
mini glockenspiel- almost at the same time! The 90-minute show included a cross-section of the Grammy-nominated Peters’ best bits, including Matador, Dark Angel, the Tex-Mex influenced Guadalupe (co-written with Tom Russell), England Blues, Hello Cruel World, St Francis, Five
Minutes, Circus Girl and Idlewild.
My own highlight was when Gretchen slid behind the huge Steinway to accompany herself on a stripped-down version of Independence Day (a No 1 hit for Martina McBride), closely matched by her hugely emotive performance of On A Bus To St Cloud.
Support act Ben Glover (from Northern Ireland) returned on stage to duet on Gram Parsons’ Return Of The Grievous Angel and the evening ended with I’m Not Ready To Say Goodbye, followed by Breakfast At Our House (“A little something off my divorce album”) before a brilliant version of Jagger and Richards’ Wild Horses (again with Glover on harmony vocals).
A memorable night’s music, superbly enhanced by the intimacy and excellent acoustics of Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall, fast becoming my favourite music venue.