…the arrangements, written by violin player Patsy Reid and worked through with Peters in the run up to the show were sublime, the woody timbre of the cello adding so much to ‘The Secret of Life’ and a brave sense of drama to ‘Hello Cruel World’. Peters paid tribute to the late Jimmy LaFave on ‘Revival’ before offering the audience ‘When You Love Someone’, written with Bryan Adams and then a real crowd favourite, ‘On a Bus to St. Cloud‘. The encore, ‘When You Are Old’, had the audience offering a standing ovation which was tonight much deserved. – Paul Kerr for Americana-UK

To read this review in its entirety, visit the American-UK website.

USA Today has released a list of Nashville’s best songs of 2018 (so far), and “Wichita” has made the list. The Tennessean music writer and USA Today contributor Juli Thanki writes “When Peters and Ben Glover wrote murder ballad “Blackbirds,” she described the process as similar to solving a crime. The singer-songwriter-detective duo is at it again with the grim “Wichita,” a song told from a 12-year-old girl’s point of view.”

You can see the whole list at USA Today’s website.

Dancing With The Beast is one of No Depression’s 10 Best Roots music records of 2018 (so far), according to a poll of ND staffers and regular album reviewers. Reviewer Corbie Hill writes:

Dancing With the Beast is an album of incredible humanity and depth, and listening to it requires the same mental engagement and emotional investment as reading a short story collection.

To read the article in its entirety and see the full list, visit No Depression.

…these may be female characters, but they’re universal emotions… if you depict a character with empathy, and in great detail and with respect, I think it’s genderless. I think that women are compelling to me maybe because I am one and I’ve had that experience, but I really think it’s more about humanity… I’m really gratified at the response from men. And, of course, women have responded very emotionally and strongly to these songs because, in a lot of cases, they’ve lived them.

To read this two page feature in its entirety, pick up a copy of Maverick Magazine at UK newsstands or at their website.

…hard-hitting subject matter is paradoxically couched in gentle melodies and the ethereal caress of Peters’ soothing voice… in some senses, this is a political record, albeit one rooted in personal reflection rather than placard-waving protest. It may go over the heads of some listeners, unaffected by its often stream-of-conscious messages, but it will speak to others like no other album they’ll hear all year. – Terry Staunton

To read this review in its entirety, you can pick up a copy of Record Collector magazine at UK newsstands or at their website.

…back then I was concerned with finding the answers and now I’ve realised that the questions are more interesting. Posing the questions or just describing the scene without having the answers is more open-ended, and you invite somebody inside the song. I’m a big fan of songs that don’t tell you everything… I became aware that I needed to dig deeper and make myself more uncomfortable – that a facility for songwriting isn’t enough to make people feel at the deepest level. You think you’re revealing yourself, and it’s scary, but what you’re actually doing is revealing the listener to themselves.

To read this six page feature in its entirety, you can purchase a copy of Country Music Magazine at UK newsstands or at their website.

“Amidst a flurry of grim solitude, which serves as a shattering reflection of real life, Gretchen Peter’s new album is gilded with softness, almost hopeful in its savory nuances. “Wichita,” named one of our Best Songs of 2018 So Far, is entrenched in southern gothic folklore, a story song about a young girl’s murderous revenge, and signals the comprehensive tone of the record. “Disappearing Act” sketches a woman who’s lost too much to care about appearances, a grisly but gorgeous moment; “Lowlands” is a reaction to the ghastly 2016 presidential reaction, a harsh reality we can’t escape; and “Truckstop Angel” sees her choking on regret. Seven albums deep now, Peters continues sacrificing bits of herself to write such stunning and profound portraits of mankind in exhaustive, radical detail.” – Jason Scott

To see the whole list, visit B-Sides and Badlands.

…‘Dancing With The Beast’ equals or maybe even surpasses her previous work. It isn’t a bundle of laughs or full of catchy throwaway pop tunes. Rather, what you get is a fully-formed collection of great songs, beautifully sung and the musicianship around them is just note perfect.

…Gretchen Peters should be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Guy Clark, and that class of wordsmith and musician. Has she been underrated because she is a woman? You decide.

To read this review in its entirety, visit Folk & Tumble.

When you write a song that becomes as iconic as “Independence Day”, it takes on a life of its own, which can feel very different from the life you intended for it. None of what happened to that song, and to me as a result of it, was in any way predictable. 25 years and two surreal encounters with Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin later, it really hasn’t felt much like my song in awhile. I haven’t played it live for at least two years, and before that only occasionally. When I did play it, I played it like a slow, sad piano ballad, not a heart-pumping anthem. And to be honest, I haven’t really wanted to play it for years. I wanted to retire it, not because I was ashamed or tired of it, but because it felt like something that wasn’t wholly mine anymore.

When your song is assigned an entire set of cultural values based on a false premise (it was never a song about America, it was always a song about a woman who was trying to save her own life and that of her child) it starts to feel tainted. It feels like words have been put in your mouth that you never said. I always said I was proud to have written the song (and I am) but the truth is I wanted to distance myself from it. And it took Zach Shultz to show me why. His essay on “Independence Day” brought me back full circle to the reason I wrote it. It made me proud. It made me feel like “Independence Day” was mine again.

The thought that my song would move a gay man in his 30s living in New York City to write,

“Today I choose to revel in the message of Martina McBride’s song, to recognize the political intent of Gretchen Peters, and to reclaim “Independence Day” as a call to independence from patriarchy, from a culture that would tell a woman, or any other person for that matter, to stand by an abusive partner at all costs. I choose to celebrate Independence Day as a day to freely criticize the policies of my country as it tears children away from their parents and locks them in cages; I celebrate Independence Day for the strong women who have escaped the oppressive strictures of unhealthy marriages and are choosing better lives; I celebrate the crowds of protesters who resisted the fascism of the current administration in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend; I celebrate the courage of the #MeToo movement and the overdue cultural reckoning it is bringing; I celebrate the independence to wake up every day and be our authentic selves.”

gives me a profound sense of wonder – wonder that something I wrote sitting on my bedroom floor in Nashville when Zach Shultz was a toddler has that kind of supernatural reach. Though many people have tried to twist it to suit their own motives, this particular song is stronger and more resilient than anyone, myself included, knew.

Songs are miraculous that way. They persist, they take on layers of meaning over the years, and sometimes they shed them, too. The people who love them keep them alive, they take courage and hope and inspiration from them, and the songs, if they are worthy, stand up to almost anything. I’m so grateful to Zach for writing this piece. I’m going to start playing my song again. Listen to the words.

The folks at Cowboys & Indians magazine have premiered the new video for “Arguing With Ghosts”. Filmed in Franklin, Kentucky by Joshua Britt and Neilson Hubbard of Neighborhoods Apart, the video stars Marshall Chapman and Jordyn Shellhart as the older and younger versions of the protagonist in the song. “Arguing With Ghosts” is from the new album Dancing With The Beast.

Visit Cowboys & Indians to see the video and read the feature interview.

…as the piano intro begins to “Truckstop Angel” or “The Boy From Rye” you appreciate that you are not just listening to songs these are little 3 or 4 minute epics. Such is the faith in the new album that it forms a large portion of the current set and it is fully justified. Gretchen admits that the election result unsettled her and that is perfectly encapsulated in  “Lowlands”, which was delivered here as a powerful tour de force….

…the final moment of a memorable night had to be something, and it truly was, with the band despatched Gretchen stepped to the front of the stage and off microphone and unplugged sung ” Love That Makes A Cup Of Tea” to a silent Cadogan Hall. In an age where the most mediocre talent show performer is deemed worthy of a standing ovation it was a joy to see a truly deserving one as the audience rose as one to show their appreciation for a quite extraordinary performance.

To read this review in its entirety, visit w21Music.

…That theme of resignation, of resolve, is one that recurs often in the female characters that inhabit Beast. Peters always writes with deep sentiment, but always avoids overt sentimentality. It’s an incredibly difficult balance to strike, but one she does with grace and grit — qualities she instills in her characters, as well. The heroines in Peters’ songs may well be victims of certain circumstances, but they are never victims. The women of “Disappearing Act,” “Wichita,” and “Truckstop Angel” all have agency, though it has often been hard-earned. Peters does, as well, in the songs that reflect her own life’s experience, including “The Show” and “Lay Low.” Her affinity for presence, gratitude, and self-care is both her rising and her resistance…

To read this review in its entirety, visit Folk Alley.

Accompaniment for the night came from the always amazing Barry Walsh on piano, vocals and accordion, Conor McCreanor on bass and Colm McLean on electric guitar. Absolutely stunning musicians, they all added something to the evening…

We were treated to some old and some new songs; in a stunning set, it was hard to choose favourites, Highlights for me included the achingly beautiful Arguing With Ghosts (arguably one of the best things Gretchen has written), Disappearing Act, Idlewild and much loved in the UK, Bus To St Cloud, dedicated to her dear friend Jimmy LaFave. Kim came out to provide backing vocals for several songs; the result? The most exquisite versions I have ever heard of Tom Russell’s Guadalupe and a delivery of Say Grace, which prompted a reverent silence and brought tears to my eyes.

(photo by Andrew Newiss)

To read this review in its entirety, visit FATEA.