Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
— Sam Keen
Hello Cruel World
Hello Cruel World, Gretchen Peters’ eighth album and her first solo studio effort in four years, will be released in early 2012. Recorded at Patty Griffin’s East Nashville studio and coproduced with Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, The Greencards, John Hiatt), the album features a duet with Rodney Crowell (“Dark Angel”), and guest appearances by Kim Richey, Viktor Krauss and Will Kimbrough. Peters, Lancio and coproducer Barry Walsh (Tom Russell) also utilized the talents of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy rhythm section Marco Giovino and Byron House. The album contains 11 original songs written by Peters, including collaborations with singer-songwriters Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss and Tom Russell.
Way Out West
We had a couple of great weekends out west in July; first we stopped in Livingston, Montana where Barry played with country legend Lynn Anderson. I was invited to do a little songwriter’s “show within a show” with Lynn and her husband Mentor Williams, who wrote “Drift Away” (one of the most-played songs in the world). It was big fun, and singing “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” with Lynn was just another one of those moments where my job intersects with music history, and I am amazed at what I get to do for a living. Barry and I took the day off after the 4th of July to go to Yellowstone National Park. A friend in Livingston had recommended we hike the Wapiti Trail there, but at the last minute we ran out of time. The next day we received an email from our friend: that morning, a grizzly bear had fatally mauled a hiker on – you guessed it – the Wapiti Trail. We’re just glad to be here.
We then flew to Sundance, Utah, where we enjoyed more cool mountain air and gorgeous scenery, and I played two fun shows with Marshall Chapman and Matraca Berg. We especially loved playing at the outdoor amphitheater on the mountainside, and in homage to Robert Redford, founder of Sundance, Barry played us onstage to the strains of “The Way We Were”.
The cool mountain air was just a memory when we arrived in Okemah, Oklahoma the next weekend for WoodyFest, the folk festival which this year celebrated Woody Guthrie’s 99th birthday. It was 108°F when we arrived. It cooled down to 104° the next day. And yes, we were playing outdoors. Nevertheless we had a great time and saw lots of old friends like Jimmy LaFave, who has played at WoodyFest every year since it began, Andrew Hardin, who sat in with us for a couple of songs, and Ronny Cox, movie star (Deliverance), folk singer and all around nice guy (Ronny and I delved deep into the catalog of Mickey Newbury over dinner one night after the festival). The night after WoodyFest we drove to Belle Plaine, Kansas where we played at the wondrous Bartlett Arboretum with Jimmy LaFave. The story of the Arboretum is fascinating; it’s a magical oasis in the middle of the Kansas prairie. Lucky for us, it cooled down to 99°F that day.
WSM – Air Castle of the South
Barry Walsh and I will once again be appearing live on the legendary WSM Radio this Friday morning. We’ll be guests on “Coffee, Country and Cody” with host Bill Cody on Friday, August 5. The show will be broadcast from the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall Of Fame, where we’ll also be appearing the next day, Saturday August 6 at 11:30AM, in the CMHOF’s Songwriter Sessions series. Listen for us on the radio on Friday during the 9:00AM hour. The show will also stream live at WSM’s website.
We’re slowly adding a few tour dates to the calendar for 2012 Hello Cruel World Tour – there will be much more to come. Our UK/Europe tour is scheduled for March of 2012 and tentatively includes the UK, Germany and Holland – and there may be additional European dates, too – so stay tuned!
Because of the new album coming out next year, I’m not doing much touring for the rest of 2011, but we will be appearing at The 1st Annual Jimmy LaFave Music Road Songwriter Rendezvous in Lajitas, TX November 11-12. This is going to be a great event in a beautiful place and a chance for me to spend some quality musical time with one of my favorite singers, Jimmy LaFave. Jimmy’s other guests will be announced soon. Check Jimmy’s website and my tour dates for details coming in the next few weeks.
I’ll also be doing a mini-tour with Janis Ian, Craig Carothers and Tony Arata – we will be at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA for two nights September 1 & 2, followed by a Saturday night show September 3rd at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. We’d love to see you at one of the shows. If there’s a venue in your town you think we should be playing, let them know! You can direct them to the appropriate booking agent on the Contact page of my website.
Behind The Hits interview
Recently I sat down with Ty Hager, who produces a show for American Forces Network called “Behind The Hits“. Our interview aired last Friday, but it’s archived here in telescoped (without music) form.
Do you Tweet, Friend, Like or Ping?
Gretchen on Twitter – ephemeral tweets about anything and everything
Gretchen on Facebook – updates and interesting tidbits
Gretchen on Ping (iTunes) – a song or track every Monday that might be the best thing you’ve never heard
Download of the Month
With the Kansas prairie in mind, August’s free download is a live version of Jennifer Warnes’ beautiful song, “Prairie Melancholy”, which I recorded on the album One To The Heart, One To The Head. The track was recorded by my nephew and sound engineer extraordinaire, Jon O’Leary, at Swallow Hill Music Association, Denver, Colorado on February 28, 2009; Barry Walsh on piano. To my knowledge, this is the only time we have ever performed the song live. Visit the Download page to get August’s free download.