…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

 

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.

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

 

Last month we visited Mountain Stage for my fourth (!) appearance there. We joined guests Livingston Taylor, Jill Barber, Amber Rubarth and Sean Rowe for the evening and had, as always, a fabulous time. Our performance will be broadcast this week on local NPR stations all over the USA – check your local listings to hear the whole show. In the meantime, our live performance of “Say Grace” is Mountain Stage’s Song of Week this week. Enjoy!

Carlene Carter concluded her first “Wonderful World of Women Who Write” series of in-the-round performances at Nashville’s Bluebird Café Tuesday night, with the casual atmosphere, off-kilter humor, surprise guests and memorable performances making for an enchanting pre-Halloween treat. Featuring Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg, with additional unannounced performances by Terri Clark and Erin Enderlin, the two-hour show at Nashville’s iconic listening room was yet another reminder of the empowering role of women in country music…

…other highlights of the night included Peters’ “On a Bus to St. Cloud” — recorded by Trisha Yearwood in 1995 — her haunting “The Matador” and “Disappearing Act,” a track from her outstanding 2018 LP Dancing With the Beast and one that reduced Berg to tears. Peters explained that the song was inspired by her late mother, noting, “After she died, she started coming back and feeding me songs.”

To read this review in its entirety, visit Rolling Stone Country.

Last month, I got together with actor & singer-songwriter Elizabeth McGovern (Ordinary People, Downton Abbey) at her house in London for a Talkhouse podcast. We talked about music, marriage, acting, feminism, Downton Abbey, and much more. It was an exhilarating hour which flew by – and now you can listen in on our conversation.

Download our chat for Talkhouse at iTunes, Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts; or you can listen right here.

Our entire set from Shrewsbury Folk Festival, recorded on 26 August 2018, is now available to watch on YouTube. Featuring Barry Walsh on keyboards, Conor McCreanor on bass and Colm McClean on electric guitar, the show was part of the Dancing With The Beast European Tour which took us to festivals in the UK as well as tour dates in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and France. You can watch the whole set here – and while you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and be the first to know when new videos are posted!