“Blackbirds” review – Q magazine

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Tenth album from one of Nashville’s unsung greats.

Four stars

If you’re waking in the night wondering where the years went, stay the hell away from Gretchen Peters’s Blackbirds. Within sight of her own seventh decade, Peters decided that it shouldn’t just be artists such as Springsteen, Dylan and Cohen who get to explore mortality, that, considering how their careers are so often built upon appearance as much as talent, maybe women have something to say, too. And in the hands of such a skilled songwriter those thoughts become powerful messages, from the opening murder-suicide of the title track to The Cure For The Pain’s desperate closing realisation that “The cure for the pain is the pain”. Ben Glover, Jason Isbell, Suzy Bogguss and others help out along the way, but this is all Peters’s show as she shines a light under some very dark rocks.