I’ll be teaching a two day songwriting workshop in September in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland at The Queens Hall. The Writing From the Inside Out workshop will include individual one-on-one time, full group song work, an evening song circle, and a special arranging class with Barry Walsh. The class is limited to 20 students. For complete details, a schedule, and registration, visit The Queens Hall website.
My new album, Dancing With The Beast comes out May 18th, and our UK tour kicks off the next day – with my full band (Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean) plus very special guest Kim Richey! A complete list of UK tour dates is below. Tickets are going fast, don’t be late! Hope to see lots of you out there.
I’m thrilled to announce that my new album, Dancing With The Beast, arrives on May 18, 2018. Once again, I coproduced with Doug Lancio and Barry Walsh. Dancing features eleven new original songs, three of them cowritten with Ben Glover and one cowritten with Ben and Matraca Berg.
In the next few months I’ll be premiering some of the tracks from the record, and we’ll have a pre-sale with some exclusive merch items you’ll only be able to get here. If you want to stay in the loop, please sign up for my newsletter.
I’ll be doing a 3 day songwriting workshop in Nashville February 25-27 in association with Performing Songwriter. Registration is now open, and the class is limited to 20 students. We’ll dig deep into the art and craft of songwriting. The workshop will include:
building the backstory for your character
Finding the melody
How to arrange a 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 on Saturday evening Feb. 24 at a Nashville home with me.
A great song, like all art, holds a mirror up and reflects who we are. Songwriting, at its heart, is storytelling, and telling your story in a compelling way comes down to authenticity. It’s about what you say, and what you don’t say. It’s about the truth, not necessarily the facts. In this 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—the holy grail in songwriting and all writing. We’ll learn to write from the inside out, beginning with the spark of an idea and following it all the way to its full realization.
My online store has been shut down for the past few weeks while we reorganize, but we’re open now and offering a 20% discount on everything in the store. This includes handwritten lyrics (there may be a delay getting those to you due to my travel schedule, so order soon if you are buying a handwritten lyric for a holiday gift). Use the code NEWSTORE20 at checkout to get the discount.
…And then, as the band left she finished the night with a new song, asking for the lights not to be turned down too low so that she could read the lyrics. Comfortable enough in front of a sold out crowd, to close out with new material, spoke volumes. She really is on top of her game…
…Using the opportunity to showcase some new material she delivered the haunting ‘Lowlands’ that on first hearing drew comparisons with Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune’ – the misgivings of Nixon-era America updated to encompass Trump and fake news. The other debuted songs showed her turn of phrase is still exemplary and with such themes as child abuse and truck stop prostitution, it is safe to say the album she is in the process of making will visit some dark places…
…Amongst the highlights were the melancholy The Matador, the intense foreboding of Black Ribbons, the Southern rock guitars of Woman On The Wheel and the down-and-dirty Wichita. The common thread running through it all was the utterly stunning imagery – the description of a fallen lover’s body ‘like rotten fruit’ in Blackbirds will stick with me for a long time – and film-like storytelling in the lyrics. However my favourite moments were when Peters took to the stage alone, allowing her voice to shine through. In particular two of her new songs, Truck Stop Angel and The Lowlands, really emphasised this…
I’ve heard from some longtime newsletter subscribers that they haven’t been receiving the newsletter for the past few months. We’ve looked into it and are in the process of changing email services, but in the meantime, here’s November’s newsletter in case you were one of the ones who didn’t get it.
In mid-October we headed back into the recording studio to begin work on a new album. The band: Barry Walsh (piano & accordion), Doug Lancio (electric and acoustic guitars), Will Kimbrough (electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, charango), Dave Roe (bass) and John Gardner (drums and percussion).
It’s an absolute privilege to play with musicians of this caliber and I never forget it. We still have a lot of work in front of us but I’m excited to be working on new music and can’t wait to share it with you.
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Barry Walsh and I were live on Facebook this past Saturday afternoon, with a new album update and a new song. If you missed our Facebook Live session you can see it here.
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The Songwriters TV show
Last night Nashville Public Television aired “The Songwriters,” a weekly TV show featuring conversations with songwriters from the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. I taped my segment with interviewer Ken Paulson a few months ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it (Mac Davis and Paul Overstreet were also taping that day, and any day when you get to hang out and hear their stories is a good day). The Songwriters will begin a national roll out in January 2018 on PBS – I’ll keep you posted when my segment is due to air.
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London show November 7th
Our only UK show of 2017 is a week away and is now sold out. 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. More info available at London Folk & Roots Festival.
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I’m doing a rare “evening with” show (not in-the-round) at Nashville’s world-famous Bluebird Cafe on November 2. Barry and I will be playing a set which will include some old favorites and some new songs we’ll be trying out for the first time.
I will be in Memphis on December 17th for a Three Women & The Truth show, with the fabulous Kathy Mattea subbing for Eliza Gilkyson. And in case Kathy, Mary Gauthier and I aren’t enough to get you there, our very special guest will be the legendary Tom Paxton. Looking so forward to this!
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Confirmed shows are listed below; for ticket links and more info, please visit my website.
November 2 – Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN an evening with Gretchen Peters, featuring Barry Walsh
There is no loss so uncomplicated as that of a beloved animal. In a relationship unadulterated by conflict, baggage, or ambivalence, the pain is sharp and pure. On Wednesday, we lost our dear Nigel, companion of 12 1/2 years, at the ripe old age of 14 1/2 or thereabouts. He found us in 2005 when we visited Nashville’s Metro Animal Shelter, where he sat, unwanted, a mature 2 year old dog among puppies, which are viewed as more adoptable. He was literally on death row. We could hardly believe our luck. He was beautiful; perfectly, almost painfully well-behaved, as cool and collected as the puppies around him were fractious and high-strung. He had something of the Buddha about him. We knew an old soul when we saw one, and we brought him home.
He had a remarkable life. He visited the Grand Canyon, stayed in nice hotels, rode through New Orleans in a horse-drawn carriage, swam in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, had fans all over the world, killed a possum, and once locked his owners out of their own house. He bore no animosity towards anyone, with the exception of any squirrel within his sight. His dignity was manifest – he did not do tricks, and was clearly offended by costumes of any kind. He did not jump on furniture, beds or people. He was a gentleman through and through.
He was famous – he appeared on stages with us throughout the southeastern US, strolling through the audience to greet everyone before taking his place underneath Barry’s piano. My #nigeloftheday social media posts were inevitably the most popular, most liked and most commented-on. He was beloved – not just by us, but by many people, most especially his dog-whisperer Rachel, who looked after him for long stretches of time while we were on tour and who has been a gift to all three of us. He was my very favorite photographic subject, although he abhorred the camera and only tolerated it out of good manners and love.
On Tuesday night we knew he was at the end of the road. On Wednesday, Barry, Rachel and I gathered around him, gave him some vanilla ice cream, stroked his beautiful black fur hundreds of times, spoke to him softly and told him all the stories of his life. Dr. Regan Harp from Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, who I am sure is an angel come to earth, joined us and gave him the peaceful and dignified exit he so deserved.
He taught us empathy, patience, manners. He showed us how to express joy, how to love unconditionally, and how to age gracefully. He is utterly irreplaceable; as we often said, he was the Dog of a Lifetime, and we knew it. We are heartbroken. We are also grateful – for the long life he had, most of which we were able to share with him – and for the outpouring of sympathy and love from hundreds of people, many of whom never met him but somehow felt they knew him. And they did – his soul shone right through his eyes, even through the lens of a camera. His soul is free now, but we will never forget the brief decade-and-a-half when he took the form of Dog and chose us to be his family. Goodnight, sweet prince.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Patton of Out and About Nashville awhile back about being a parent and a trans ally. An excerpt:
“I think a lot of people think acceptance means your child wants to be another gender or whatever, but the thing is, what people really need to understand about trans people is, that’s who they are. That’s who they’ve always been.”
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!
The first single from my new album Dancing With The Beast, is out now! You can find “Disappearing Act” on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube – and Rolling Stone has previewed the track at Rolling Stone Country. Dancing With The Beast comes out May 18th, and pre-sale here at my website starts…
I’ll be teaching a two day songwriting workshop in September in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland at The Queens Hall. The Writing From the Inside Out workshop will include individual one-on-one time, full group song work, an evening song circle, and a special arranging class with Barry Walsh. The…
My new album, Dancing With The Beast comes out May 18th, and our UK tour kicks off the next day – with my full band (Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean) plus very special guest Kim Richey! A complete list of UK tour dates is below. Tickets are going fast, don’t be late! Hope .…
I’m thrilled to announce that my new album, Dancing With The Beast, arrives on May 18, 2018. Once again, I coproduced with Doug Lancio and Barry Walsh. Dancing features eleven new original songs, three of them cowritten with Ben Glover and one cowritten with Ben and Matraca Berg. In the next f…
I’ll be doing a 3 day songwriting workshop in Nashville February 25-27 in association with Performing Songwriter. Registration is now open, and the class is limited to 20 students. We’ll dig deep into the art and craft of songwriting. The workshop will include: building the backst…