…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.
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.
2016 was an unintentionally cruel transitional year for Gretchen Peters. In the span of twelve months, she encountered a myriad of loss — her mom, her dog, and two of her best friends. The results of the US presidential election only confounded her already fragile state of mind.
She turned to music to make sense of it all, which has resulted in her eighth album, Dancing With The Beast, eleven snapshots of gut-wrenching brilliance inspired as much by her personal misfortune and the 2017 Woman’s March, as the #MeToo Movement that swept into our collective consciousness last autumn. Female-centric perspectives lead the record and the listener on a journey both horrifically candid and deeply satisfying.
To read this review in its entirety, visit My Kind of Country.
Hard to believe but this great singer-songwriter (whose award-winning work has been covered by everyone from Neil Diamond and George Strait to Etta James and Shania Twain) is now 60. But here she sounds as contemporary as many half her age as she deals with the lives and thoughts of women of all ages (the girl in the startlingly convincing Wichita is a troubled 12-year old) and deliver an album full of female empowerment wrapped up in memorable country-framed songs. Peters convincingly writes from within her characters (the young anxious women in The Boy from Rye, the self-aware hooker in Truckstop Angel who wonders if she is predator or prey) and pens spare lyrics which hook you in immediately: “I spend a lot of time here in the lowlands, mostly keeping to myself . . . ever since he put that sticker on his bumper I just turn out the lights and lock the door . . . I don’t know a soul who’s sleeping well” on the haunting and uneasy Trump-era Lowlands where the television lies to keep you watching and “the man who lies for the sake of lying, sell you kerosene and call is it hope”.
An exception writer and singer right at the top of her game. Still.
To read this review in its entirety, visit Elsewhere.
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.
To read this review in its entirety, visit The FTR.
LH: Stories and characters are always to the fore in your songwriting, you paint pictures so well, and this collection is no exception. And once again the stories you tell here aren’t always pretty….what is it the attracts you to flawed characters and desperate situations?
GP: I find these characters heroic. They persist, despite having been dealt a bad hand. If there’s anything beautiful and admirable about humans (and we’ve certainly been tested in the past few years to find it), it’s the ability to maintain their humanity in inhumane situations. The girls and women on Dancing With The Beast are, as my coproducer Doug Lancio said to me, “wrapped in a ramshackle kind of elegance” – I love that, because it elevates them the way I see them – as heroines, with a certain dignity and grace.
to read this interview in its entirety, visit Belles & Gals.