Live Review – Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland

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Gretchen Peters has been a regular and welcome visitor to Glasgow since the mid-90s and this latest trip, as part of the Celtic Connections festival, saw her in stripped-down acoustic format, accompanied only by pianist, accordionist and husband, Barry Walsh. There was little new on display, but this failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the legions of diehard fans and Fallen Angels Club regulars in the capacity crowd.
Opening with the title track of her last studio album, Hello Cruel World, an examination of life’s ‘beautiful disaster’ soon followed in the shape of ‘Dark Angel’ from the same album. Despite attempts at inter-song banter, this was never going to be a light-hearted evening. ‘Guadalupe’, co-written with Tom Russell, and touching new track ‘House On Auburn Street’ traded neatly with the more up-tempo circus song ‘Woman On The Wheel’, and personal highlight ‘Five Minutes’, which relates the self-analysis thoughts of a waitress during her break.
A welcome raid on an extensive back catalogue produced fine performances of On A Bus To St. Cloud’, ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Secret Of Life’. Peters may not possess the cutting-edge ‘alternative’ earthiness offered by some of her peers, but her music is elegant, well-crafted and impeccably performed.
Morgan Hogarth

R2 Rock & Reel magazine