OfficialCharts.com has revealed the top ten best-selling UK country albums for the past 12 months, and Blackbirds comes in at #8. One of only two independent albums on the chart (the other is Steve Earle’s Terraplane), the album sits among releases from major label releases from Sony and Universal. Amazing! Love and thanks to the team – Proper Records, Moneypenny Agency, Richard Wootton Publicity, and especially Barry Walsh, Doug Lancio and all the musicians and engineers for their talent and artistry.
Tonight I guest hosted my own radio show on BBC Radio 2’s country pop-up station. “Sad Songs Make Me Happy” aired at 9pm GST – but you can listen again via the BBC’s website. I’ve also made a Spotify playlist with all the songs I selected – you can subscribe to that playlist here. Thanks to BBC Radio 2 for giving me a shot at playing DJ!
“This was the 20th anniversary of her debut album and her first small scale UK shows, and there was definitely a sense of (respectful) celebration in the air. Peters seems to be one of those artists who is more loved in the UK than at home, and she appears to be genuinely appreciative of her British audience. There was a connection between her and the fans, and this reflected in the light banter on stage, and a certain self-deprecating humour all round. It made for an impressive, immersive show.
She finished the show (apart from encores, of course) with a rousing version of Idlewild, a quiet track from Hello Cruel World now expanded into a rousing, thumping, passionate and – dare I say it? – rocking number that would put many a ‘proper’ rock band to shame. It was a fine ending to a fine show, and left everyone hungry for more. Next time she plays here, you owe it to yourself to go along.”
To read this review in its entirety visit Strange Things Are Happening.
“A twentieth anniversary has connotations of being in the coming of age bracket and the full band show of Gretchen Peters did just that during this current celebratory tour of Britain. Gretchen’s talent as a singer-songwriter is sealed in the vault and her musical relationship with Barry Walsh has been cast in gold for a long time. The live development of working with Christine Bougie and Conor McCreanor added an extra spring to the step of the stage show and now the introduction of Colm McClean has raised the band bar to the level of other pre-eminent artists. Gretchen’s ascendancy continues to re-define her peak and this evening’s show at a sold out Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove drew many cries of the best yet. From a viewpoint of seeing her live in several formats and different sized venues over the last decade, it is difficult to argue with this claim, not just the pedal steel and electric guitar of Colm garnishing the songs, but Gretchen herself finding further incredible depth in conveying her compositions to a mesmerised audience.”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Three Chords and the Truth UK.
“Tonight at The Queen’s Hall was the last date here in the UK on Gretchen Peters’ 20th Anniversary tour, and also as the UK was really the place that appreciated the songs first, 20 years since her first UK tour. Also out now is a retrospective double CD album “The Essential Gretchen Peters” which has back catalogue music on one CD and songs that somehow until now just never made it onto any album on the other, so a busy year for this lady.
Gretchen Peters is simply a hugely gifted songwriter and plays with words like a master storyteller. Also though there are those gifts of being able to tell a story that touches people’s lives, there is also the gift of being able to make lines in a song that seem sometimes disconnected from one another fit together perfectly to tell a story and also to describe something very basic in a way that you go ‘I wish I had thought of that’.”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Southside & Old Town Living Edinburgh.
“‘The Essential Gretchen Peters’… combines her career-defining creations with the lesser spotted, rare outtakes, demos and B-sides that only an artist both confident and comfortable, yet courageous and acute could do… Her lyrics are often intensely poetic, ferociously potent and unmasking both her power and her glory. Ranging from Shakespearian high drama, driven by dark forces of nature and beyond, to Blake-like innocence and simplicity, to retrospective whimsy, nostalgia and even errant sentimentality – but what would country be without those overarching, aching emotional manacles and ties?”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Folk & Tumble.
“…having fallen for her last few albums and indeed the retrospective Essential collection attending was an absolute no-brainer, but despite devouring Gretchen’s recorded output nothing had prepared me for such a mesmeric performance.
Gretchen took to the stage ably backed by Barry Walsh (keyboards, accordion, husband), Conor McCreanor (bass) and Colm McClean (guitar/pedal steel) and launched into an evocative rendition of The Secret Of Life, instantly demanding full attention from the full to capacity auditorium as she unveiled that expressive vocal and masterly use of language that she’s became renowned for. From there the thought provoking Matador, with it’s Latin tinged accordion laced introduction, then onto to Guadalupe… delivered here with Barry Walsh providing backing vocals and McClean’s aching pedal steel, whilst Gretchen delivers a stunning, slightly weathered lead.”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Rhythm & Booze.
“Similarly, when Peters goes solo with Independence Day on the piano and If Heaven there’s a palpable vulnerability in both songs that is incredibly moving. And this depth is maintained as she criss-crosses through her catalogue, though mainly from the just released Essential collection, other stand outs are the grim Black Ribbons and the beautiful Five Minutes…”
to read this review in its entirety, visit Music-News.com.
“…The attentive audience is treated to something approaching a masterclass in this type of thing. Stretching at close to two hours, the career spanning setlist is one of frequent thrills. The breadth of her material hits home too. “Guadeloupe” is desolate, “Hello Cruel World” is bluesy and “Woman On The Wheel” has a touch of Steve Earle about it…”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Maximum Volume Music.
“…She is a storyteller, her characters wearing her experience… she pens with a perception of why we do what we do in a way that buries a little of each of us in the story. She takes you to the fringes of society and shows you that there is hope, and compassion. Truth telling works better through a voice like hers. Restraint isn’t a word you’ll find in her dictionary. She offers herself. Completely! It’s the ultimate vulnerability on a silver platter…”
To read this review in its entirety, visit alancackett.com
“…It’s hard to imagine a time when she wasn’t enrapturing thousands of dedicated music fans every night, but as she explained early on in the show, this was not always the case. This year is the 20th anniversary of her debut album ‘The Secret of Life’, which she joked was “met by universal indifference” by everyone except the UK. As a result, in 1996 Gretchen packed up her things and embarked on a four-city UK tour, just her and her guitar. “We played to about 100 people… total,” she quipped. These days, she plays to a few thousand a night, every night, and plays far more dates in the UK than many US acts – in the States her songs might be better known in renditions by Martina McBride, Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood, but here she’s a regular favorite…”
To read this review in its entirety, visit For The Country Record.
“This year, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Gretchen will celebrate 20 years as a recording artist, and this well-stocked two-disc compilation serves as much more than a career retrospective, for it presents on its second disc a whole hour’s worth of demos, work tapes and live recordings that’s worth the price of the set on its own…”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Folk & Roots.
Danny And The Champions Of The World and Gretchen Peters were the big winners at the first UK Americana Awards in London’s St John at Hackney yesterday evening. Danny and The Champions took home UK Artist, Album and Song Of The Year awards and Gretchen won International Album and Song Of The Year.
Set to become an annual event, the award ceremony rounded off two days of activities at this year’s Americana Music Association UK conference. In a night celebrating the Americana music scene, an audience of guests, AMA-UK delegates, members of the music industry and the public witnessed performances from Billy Bragg, Danny And The Champions Of The World, Bear’s Den, The Dreaming Spires, Lewis & Leigh, Emily Barker, Robert Vincent, Gretchen Peters and Cale Tyson…
To read this article in its entirety, visit Songwriting Magazine.