…usually Gretchen Peters, Mary Gauthier, and Eliza Gilkyson, last night’s show took place sans the third, who was sick. Instead, newcomer and former student of the other two Jaimee Harris stepped in. Always accompanied by pianist Barry Walsh, the songwriters switched off in a roundtable format, perhaps accompanied by the other two on guitar or vocal harmonies. As such, you really got to intimately and individually know each one–Peters’ emotive coo, Gauthier’s matter-of-fact storytelling, and Harris’s bear-all soul…
To read this review in its entirety, visit SiLy.
Many thanks to The Bitter Southerner for publishing “Concealer”. The idea for this essay had been percolating in me for some time, and more than a few of the songs from Dancing With The Beast touch on the ideas in this piece – perhaps most directly, “The Boy From Rye”:
…that moment when adolescent girls realize they are not the central characters in their own lives anymore, but prizes to be won by the alpha boy. The unspoken but understood idea we must compete with each other sexually is devastating to women. It taints some of the strongest and most important relationships in our lives; at worst, it destroys them, or prevents them from ever happening. It divides us; and divided, we never know the power we would have had together.
In addition to “Concealer”, the lyric video for “The Boy From Rye” has been released today.
I’m honored to be included on these year-end “best of 2018” lists:
Americana Highways Editor’s Pick: The Dirty Dozen Top Albums Of 2018 -“The Stories, oh dear god, The Stories. Peters know how to draw out real cathartic release for the saddest parts of our collective unconsciouses, all set to a full band sound. These songs cover all manner of personal experiences from aging and Alzheimer’s, to love, loss, prostitution, and abuse. Get out the tissues while you’re letting this album wash over you.”
Folk Alley’s Best of 2018: Elena See’s Favorite Folk and Americana Albums of the Year – Peters says she was feeling quite low when she was working on this album. It was right after the 2016 presidential election and she wasn’t quite sure what to do next. She ended up doing what she does very well – she started telling stories, working through what she – and others – were feeling. It’s the kind of record that will somehow always speak to you, no matter what you’re going through.
B-Sides and Badlands 30 Best Albums of 2018 – 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, 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.
No Depression 50 Favorite Roots Music Albums of 2018 (reader poll)
Folk & Tumble The Best of 2018
Bernard Zuel – Top 20 Albums of 2018
Folk Alley Best Albums of 2018 – Listener Poll
WMOT Listener’s Choice 2018 – Top 10
Thanks to Whisky Quarterly and editor Dominic Roskrow for the 2 page feature in the new issue (available by subscription)!
Every year I share this recipe from my grandmother Adele, and I think it would amaze her to know that there are people baking and enjoying her gingerbread all over the world. The recipe dates back to the 1910s, and when I was growing up, it wasn’t Christmas until she made it. This year, thanks to Andrew Newiss, who kindly translated the recipe, I’m including conversions and substitutions for those of you in the UK and Europe. This heavenly stuff will fill your home with the smell of Christmas and it’s every bit as good as it smells. Barry likes it with whipped cream; I’m a purist and prefer it all by its lovely self. Either way, give it a try. It might become your tradition too.
Adele’s Hot Water Gingerbread (UK & European conversions in parentheses)
1 cup butter (225g salted butter)
1 cup sugar (165g dark soft brown sugar)
1 cup blackstrap molasses (342g or 236ml Lyle’s Black Treacle)
1 tsp. baking soda (1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda)
1 1/2 cups boiling water (355ml boiling water)
2 large eggs
3 cups flour (420g plain white flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
Beat all ingredients together with electric beater. Bake at 350° (180°C) in two square pans (20cm x 20cm x 5 cm) or one oblong pan (33 x 23 x 5 cm) for 45 minutes or until knife comes clean.
If you’d like some Christmas music to bake by, my album Northern Lights (out of print on CD) is available for downloading on iTunes and Bandcamp, and you can stream it at Apple Music and Spotify.
The Black Friday sale at gretchenpeters.com starts November 23rd! Save 20% storewide starting 23 November through 27 November (Cyber Monday) – just use the discount code blackfriday at checkout.
In addition, the Blackbirds and Hello Cruel World CDs are on sale for just $5 apiece!
Visit the web store starting Friday, November 23rd to shop.
*20% discount is storewide and includes handwritten lyrics.
I will be facilitating a three day intensive songwriting workshop in conjunction with Performing Songwriter in 2019. Each of these workshops is limited to a small number of registrants to ensure a personal and unmatched experience with one-on-one access to the teachers. We will dig deep into the art and the craft of songwriting. You’ll leave tired and inspired! This workshop will take place in Nashville from February 21-23 and will include the following:
- Building the backstory for your song
- Finding the melody of a character
- How to arrange a song
- Surprise Guest Speakers & Musical events
- Song Critiques & sharpening skills with Gretchen and her guest teacher
- A One-on-One session with Gretchen
In addition to the intensive days of songwriting, you’ll enjoy a surprise once-in-a-lifetime private concert, a closing night group dinner and song circle, buffet breakfasts on Thursday and Friday mornings, surprise guest songwriting friends of Gretchen’s who will join us and inspire you, and an opening night dinner on Wednesday evening Feb. 20 at a Nashville home with Gretchen!
This is my only scheduled Nashville songwriting workshop for 2019, and it will sell out, so be sure to register soon! You can find all the details and register at Performing Songwriter.
Thanksgiving time has come around again, and even in these times there’s a lot to be thankful for. Say grace. Happy Thanksgiving.
I’m thrilled to announce the Strings Attached Tour, coming to the UK for eight very special shows in April 2019. Along with my band, Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean, we’ll be joined by the Southern Fried String quartet at each of these shows. Reprising our set at the Southern Fried Festival in Perth, Scotland last summer, with beautiful string arrangements by Scottish violinist Patsy Reid, come join us and hear these songs like you’ve never heard them before. Ticket links below:
13 April – Gala, Durham
14 April – Whitby Pavilion, Whitby
16 April – RNMC, Manchester
17 April – Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield
19 April – St George’s, Bristol
20 April – Cadogan Hall, London
22 April – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea
23 April – The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
NPR and Mountain Stage have made our recent set there available online. In a recent tweet, NPR said “Gretchen Peters delivered a compelling and honest performance for her fifth appearance on Mountain Stage.” This episode of Mountain Stage was recorded on October 7, 2018 in Charleston, WV. You can listen to the entire show at the NPR Music website.