I spoke with Melissa Clarke of Americana Highways recently about sad songs, storytelling, how music creates empathy, Dancing With The Beast, and… crickets.
The album contains characters who are suffering from abuse, depression, Alzheimer’s, and there’s even one song called “Truck Stop Angel.” “It’s human centric,” I remarked. Peters responded: “I’m glad to hear you say that, because some of the most rewarding feedback about the album has come from men who’ve said these are human stories. I have a problem with the whole idea of things like “women’s literature” and I don’t think of myself as addressing an audience of just one gender. Female characters ought to interest everybody.”
To read the interview in its entirety, visit Americana Highways.
I sat down to talk to Jeremy Dylan awhile back for his great podcast, My Favorite Album. Obviously it’s impossible to pick a favorite album, but Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks would undoubtedly be up there at the top of my list any day of the week. Dylan was one of the earliest and most powerful influences on me, as a young kid learning to play the guitar. But it took me a long time to really dig into Blood On The Tracks. From Jeremy’s website:
Gretchen talks about how she fell in love with the album as she was getting divorced, the unusually soft edges of Dylan’s songwriting on this record, how he treats women in his lyrics, how his songs always bring you to a place of empathy and the importance of being brutally honest with yourself as a songwriter.
To listen to this episode visit My Favorite Album (you can also download it wherever you get your podcasts).
Originally, the Roots Unearthed series booked Gretchen into the L3 Lounge – however, tickets sold so fast that she was moved into the 2,000-seater St David’s Hall. She totally topped her new prestigious space; her performance, accompanied by arranger, husband and Nashville resident Barry Walsh and two masterful musicians from Ireland, bassist Conor McCreanor and spectacular Belfast guitarist Colm McClean, was absolutely stunning… She stands on a pedestal with Richard Thompson as being the most compelling songwriter on the scene today; like Thompson, her lyrics are astounding, cramming original ideas, words and memorable tunes into a few sharp minutes.
To read this review in its entirety, visit FolkWales Online Magazine.
…the arrangements, written by violin player Patsy Reid and worked through with Peters in the run up to the show were sublime, the woody timbre of the cello adding so much to ‘The Secret of Life’ and a brave sense of drama to ‘Hello Cruel World’. Peters paid tribute to the late Jimmy LaFave on ‘Revival’ before offering the audience ‘When You Love Someone’, written with Bryan Adams and then a real crowd favourite, ‘On a Bus to St. Cloud‘. The encore, ‘When You Are Old’, had the audience offering a standing ovation which was tonight much deserved. – Paul Kerr for Americana-UK
To read this review in its entirety, visit the Americana-UK website.
USA Today has released a list of Nashville’s best songs of 2018 (so far), and “Wichita” has made the list. The Tennessean music writer and USA Today contributor Juli Thanki writes “When Peters and Ben Glover wrote murder ballad “Blackbirds,” she described the process as similar to solving a crime. The singer-songwriter-detective duo is at it again with the grim “Wichita,” a song told from a 12-year-old girl’s point of view.”
You can see the whole list at USA Today’s website.
Dancing With The Beast is one of No Depression’s 10 Best Roots music records of 2018 (so far), according to a poll of ND staffers and regular album reviewers. Reviewer Corbie Hill writes:
Dancing With the Beast is an album of incredible humanity and depth, and listening to it requires the same mental engagement and emotional investment as reading a short story collection.
To read the article in its entirety and see the full list, visit No Depression.
…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.