9 stars of 10
Gretchen Peters consistently raises the bar and somehow manages to surpass it with each album. Her previous outing, 2015’s Blackbirds won the International Roots Album of the Year. This time she retains many of the same backing musicians and co-writers but focuses on female characters from teenage girls to old women to deliver another masterpiece. Peters proves yet again on Dancing with the Beast that she is today’s most vivid, detailed songwriter. She is uncanny at transforming simple thoughts or images into song. “The pictures and details come first, and I think that’s kind of necessary because they’re sort of like little bombs of emotion,” she says. “It’s like when you pull out a Polaroid that you haven’t seen in 25 years, and your heart just kind of explodes because it brings back a whole world.”
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