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!

“When I turn on the radio – which is rarely – but when I do it just seems like it’s just pure testosterone. Honestly, one thing I think we all have to remember is people programming commercial stations are not selling music, they’re not selling songs – they’re selling tires, deodorant, whatever they’re running ads for.”

“I started to feel like there was no room for the types of songs I wrote. I could hear it, it doesn’t take a genius to listen to the radio and figure out things are going east and you’re going west.” Welcoming these songs would make the radio “more diverse, more varied, just by the nature of [women’s] own experiences.”

To read this interview in its entirety, visit PopScure.

After her recent sell out concert, Gretchen Peters was gracious enough to spend some time with Folk and Tumble and have a chat about her career, songwriting and her fans:

… “There are certain characters that really speak to you and appeal to you for different reasons and that certainly has something to do with who you are so it’s almost impossible to answer. I think it was interesting that the voices that emerged for this particular album given this particular climate were all women but I don’t think it’s surprising because I’ve been telling women’s stories pretty much all of my career.

The “me too” movement was just taking off at the time and I don’t think it was a coincidence that that was what I was writing about. I think that’s part of what an artist does. They sense what is happening under the surface and just pull it up”…

To read this interview in its entirety, visit Folk & Tumble.

…a beautifully balanced performance with superb musicianship from the talented band that comprises Barry Walsh (accordion, keyboards), Conor McCreanor (Electric & upright bass), Colm McClean (guitars) and Gretchen herself on acoustic guitar. The understated playing is so beautifully realised, always serving the song and adding just enough interplay to allow for the spaces between the notes. Also, the harmony vocals are very strong and augment a vocal performance from Gretchen that shows her voice to be in superb shape, singing from the heart in a honeyed tone that seduces and soars in all the right places…

To read this review in its entirety, visit Lonesome Highway.

While in the UK recently, I had an in-depth chat with Mandy Morton for her Cambridge 105 radio show, The Eclectic Light Show. We talked about Dancing With The Beast, feminism, the political atmosphere that was the backdrop for the songs on the album, and much, much more. This episode also features British folk artist Eliza Carthy – be sure to stick around for her interview in the second half!

You can listen to the interview here.

 

…the encore is rememberable for two different reasons. The first is a spirited rendition of Rodney Crowell tune, ‘Ain’t Living Long Like This’, which sees Walsh kick his stool backwards, and fly at the keyboard with gusto, which is met by equalling shining solos from the Fender of Colm McClean. This is pure musical theatre at its best, with Little Richard present in spirit in the shape of Barry Walsh.

The second reason is very special. Gretchen Peters makes her way to the edge of the stage and delivers a spine-tingling solo version of ‘Love That Makes A Cup Of Tea’. In the hands of someone less adept, such a tittle could be a hackneyed, over-sentimental country and western song.

In Gretchen’s voice, it is a thing of pure beauty, leaving the audience with some balm, comfort and hope, in a world full of obstacles. Her voice is soft and you wish she could have sang more songs like this. But which songs would you have given up to make way?

To read this review in its entirety, visit Folk & Tumble.

While we were in Dublin during the Irish leg of our European tour, Barry Walsh and I stopped in at Beardfire Studio and played a couple of songs for Rhythm & Roots on 103.2 Dublin City FM. We had a chat with host Rohan Healy. Here’s “Say Grace”.

 

 

…the crowd loved her version of “On A Bus To St. Cloud” but the next song of the set was even better – “Idlewild” from 2012’s Hello Cruel World. This opens with a child in the back seat of the family car listening to her parents’ fractured conversations, and it covers everything from racism and JFK’s assassination, to the Cold War. The finale was a rousing, rock-and-roll cover of Rodney Crowell’s “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” complete with a duel between lead guitar and keys.

I thought this was a fine and very uplifting end to the show, but Peters wasn’t finished. The band left and she walked to the very front of the Lyric’s stage with her guitar, and sang the simple and completely endearing “Love That Makes A Cup Of Tea”. This was a thing of absolute beauty and worth the ticket price on it’s own.

To read this review in its entirety, visit Gigging NI.