I’m excited to be coming back to the beautiful Union Chapel in London this November 7th, for our only UK show of 2017 as part of the London Folk & Roots Festival. We were last there on February 16, 2016 and for me it was one of the most memorable shows in 20 years of touring the UK. I’ll be joined by Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean; Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage open the show. Tickets have just gone on sale. Looking forward to seeing so many friends and fans!

I love Jimmy LaFave. I love him as a friend and as a fellow musician, and I’d love him even if I hadn’t known him for the better part of the last 20 years. As a songwriter, I’ve been graced with not one, but two Jimmy LaFave covers (“On a Bus to St. Cloud,” which appeared on his Texoma album, and “Revival,” which came four years later on Blue Nightfall). Whenever I play in Texas, I always joke that the former is a Jimmy LaFave song which I just happened to write. That’s the power of his voice…

To read this piece in its entirety, please visit The Bluegrass Situation.

This September, our friends at Roots On The Rails present an Alaska Adventure – you can join me, Mary Gauthier and Eliza Gilkyson on a spectacular, life-affirming trip through the land of eagles, sea otters and seals, salmon, whales, bears and moose – The Kenai Peninsula! Fifteen thousand square miles of rivers, of lakes, of bays and rocky vistas; of volcanoes and glaciers and a staggering abundance of wildlife.

If you have never traveled to the Kenai you’ll be bowled over by the power and the beauty of the region. Our first morning out from Anchorage the vistas along Turnagain Arm are literally jaw-dropping. The rushing majesty of the Kenai River, an unreal turquoise from the glacial silt in the water; the nest of bald eagles just down the bluff from our hotel in Homer; the trip across Kachemak Bay –on our own boat!– with sea otters and puffins to the tiny town of Seldovia. The day long trip to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the awe-inspiring sight and sounds of the glaciers calving into frigid waters. And to top it off, an utterly spectacular return journey to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad, in our own glass-topped, two-story “Gold Star” car – replete with open-air deck – perfect for wildlife-spotting.

There are concerts most nights of the trip, formal and informal. You can read more about the adventure at Roots On The Rails’ website. Come join us for an unforgettable week in Alaska!

You can watch a live webcast of our Three Women and the Truth (Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson & me) show at Blue Rock Studio February 11th.

Concert Window will be broadcasting the show from beautiful Blue Rock Artist Ranch & Studio LIVE at 8:00p CST. You can tune in all over the world from your computer, tablet or phone on Concert Window at: http://www.concertwindow.com/bluerock
RSVP at Concert Window and then tune in on Saturday night, February 11th for the show!

One of the oldest phrases in any language must be ‘tell me a story.’ Songwriting is storytelling, and telling your story in a compelling way is all about detail. It’s about what you say, and what you don’t say. It’s about the truth, not necessarily the facts. In this three day workshop, we’ll explore the process of songwriting—the art and the craft, and the delicate balance between the two. We’ll learn how to keep a sense of creative play and when (and how) to welcome the inner critic into the room. We’ll find ways to work through “writer’s block.” We’ll learn that only through the specific do you achieve the universal—and that’s the holy grail in songwriting and all writing. We write to find out who we are, and in the process we find out we are not alone.

This three-day workshop with me will include:
How to build a back story for your song
Finding the melody of a character
How to arrange your song
Surprise guest speakers & musical events
Song Critiques & sharpening skills with me and my guest teacher
A one-on-one session with me
In addition to the intensive days of songwriting, you’ll enjoy a surprise once-in-a-lifetime private concert, a closing night group dinner, surprise guest songwriting friends who will join us and inspire you, song circles in the evenings where everyone can share songs, and an opening night dinner at a Nashville home!
Registration is open – only a few spots left.
If you have any specific questions, please email Lydia Hutchinson.

The best Christmas present I received this year, by a mile, was learning from President Barack Obama himself that I’m on his iPod! A few days before Christmas, my husband Barry Walsh (whose full name, when he’s writing to Presidents, is James Barry Walsh) received a personal response to a letter he’d written to Obama. That would have been gift enough, but the next sentence was a complete shock, in the best of all possible ways. I’m beyond proud to count President Obama as a “big fan” (the feeling is mutual, sir)!

Kelly McCartney of The Bluegrass Situation asked me to share some thoughts post-election. I don’t normally post political items on my website. I know people come here for updates on musical things. But these are not normal times.

Like virtually all my musician friends who have spoken out, I’ve been on the receiving end of some vitriol. I’ve been advised to “stick to music” and “keep your politics to yourself”. If you know anything about my music, you know that my politics, along with my worldview, my sense of empathy for the vulnerable and my deep desire to bear witness for the underdog are at the core of my work as a songwriter. I try to speak truth as I see it. So should you. So should we all. I chose a career as a singer/songwriter; at no point did I sign an agreement to be silent about injustice, inequity and above all, hate.

peace,

Gretchen

You can read my op-ed piece at The Bluegrass Situation’s website.

Thanks to WMOT and Craig Havighurst for giving me the opportunity to remember the great Leonard Cohen. His influence on me was profound and lifelong. I’m so grateful to have seen him perform (I flew to Portland, OR in 2010 to catch his show there since I was on the road when he came to Nashville); on stage he was elegant and wryly funny and incredibly generous with the spotlight – everyone in his prodigiously talented band had a moment. He was the master of song.

You can listen to my interview about Leonard Cohen here.

Tomorrow I’ll be playing my last set in the UK (my second home, it seems) for awhile. The usual scrapes, bruises and bumps – proverbial and actual – aside, the road has treated us well. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to play with this incredible band. I’m a little emotional about this tour coming to an end; even more so than usual, for reasons I’ll explain below.

I’ve been touring hard for ten years now, with very little in the way of breaks. So in 2017 I’m going to take some long overdue time off. I won’t be touring for the rest of the year after we get off the Cayamo cruise in late February. It’s time to rest, to be still, to think about what’s next. I’m going to be tending to family matters, doing some writing – I may even get a houseplant. During this hiatus I’ll be sending the newsletter out about once every couple of months – no tour dates means less news, and there’s no point in taking up space in your inbox unless I have something to share. I WILL still be posting a new free download every month – I’ll post a reminder on Facebook and Twitter when it goes up. I do hope to stay in touch with you via social media, and I’ll let you know what I’m up to every couple of months or so via email. There’ll be news I’ll want to share; I just won’t be sharing it quite as often. I so appreciate your support, encouragement and love. I’m excited about taking a break and I know it’s the right thing – but I will miss seeing your faces in the audience and I’ll be back before you know it.

x
G