It’s an unforgettable moment when a performer comes down from the stage into the audience and sings a song. I saw David Bowie sing Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud from the stalls at Taunton, and now Gretchen Peters sing Love That Makes a Cup of Tea from the front row of St George’s in Bristol, both indelibly.
I have been fortunate to see the Nashville-based singer songwriter performing on several occasions in many venues, but never singing better than at St George’s, a venue she clearly loves both for its splendid warm acoustic and its loyal and enthusiastic audience.
She’s in the UK to promote her new album Dancing with the Beast, the result of what she hoped would be a relaxing break that was shattered by the 2016 election result. There was no indication that the title of the new record is especially relevant, but Gretchen, one of the most intelligently political of the avalanche of disaffected performers, captures that new mixture of fear, anger, nostalgia and disbelief that has swept across America.
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