I recently spoke to Bernard Zuel about The Night You Wrote That Song, Mickey Newbury, songwriting, and more. An excerpt:
“Another thing was the mystery that he left in his lyrics,” she says. “There was always something that was not fully said, and I think that was a huge lesson for me. I don’t think I could have even told you that I was learning at the time, but I definitely internalised that is something that I wanted to accomplish in my writing. In much the same way the Leonard Cohen does: there is a veil beyond which you can’t see I think that’s why I find both of their songs so compelling.”
You can see the truth of this through all of Peters’ career, the ability to give us detail that illuminates but does not overwhelm the characters or the story. She leaves space in the songs for us to read in or project or imagine.
To read the interview in its entirety, visit BernardZuel.net.
Pop Matters recently premiered the video for “The Sailor”, and reviewed The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury as part of a feature interview on the album. An excerpt:
Peters’ collection of Newbury songs, though, is the record that Newbury lovers could have only dreamed of. Eschewing standard notions of making an album celebrating the songs of a beloved artist, she followed her heart and her ear. “One of the first things I threw out the window was the idea that I was going to record things that were recognizable,” she says. “That ruled out so many wonderful songs. By the same token, I didn’t rule out doing some of the songs that were hits. I said, ‘Let’s throw chart history right out the window and let’s go purely on songs.’ The only other criteria became, ‘Do I think I can tell this story effectively? Can I bring this across?’ It really becomes not dissimilar from choosing songs for your own record.”
To read the review and interview, and watch the video, visit Pop Matters.
Off The Record has reviewed The Night You Wrote That Song; here’s an excerpt:
Peters has wholly brought herself and her own sonic landscape to this record. It is masterstroke, taking a true artist to pay in equal part homage to her hero, but also completely bringing herself and her inner psyche to the reinvention of these songs. This is a stellar accomplishment.
To read the review in its entirety, visit Off The Record.
Country Standard Time posted a review of The Night You Wrote That Song. Here’s an excerpt:
Her version of “The Night You Wrote That Song” is beautifully melancholy and highlighted by Dan Dugmore’s sweet country pedal steel guitar and waltzing rhythm, and just a touch of piano. Many of Newbury’s songs (“An American Trilogy,” made famous by Elvis, comes immediately to mind) were borderline epics, compared to the typical three-minute or so country song. “The Night You Wrote That Song,” though, evidences how Newbury could also write wonderful, more concise songs, as well.
To read the review in its entirety, visit Country Standard Time.
I spoke with Mary Andrews of Glide Magazine recently about Mickey Newbury, the new album, songwriting and other things. Mary also interviewed Susan Newbury-Oakley, Mickey’s widow, about the project.
To read the interview in its entirety, visit Glide Magazine.
The Rocking Magpie reviewed The Night You Wrote That Song; here’s an excerpt:
Peters is honest enough to not mess around too much with the arrangements of these classics, instead giving them a feminine bent; and her decision to record these songs in familiar territory—namely the very same studio in which Newbury recorded many of his best albums: the famed Cinderella Sound, utilizing several of the musicians who helped Newbury record his erstwhile classic songs—tells me she’s chasing that elusive element that made Newbury’s songs stand out so much from most other Nashville songwriters.
To read the review in its entirety, visit The Rocking Magpie.
Thom Jurek of AllMusic has published a review of The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury. Here’s an excerpt:
Peters delivers gorgeous versions of classics such as “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,” “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition What My Condition Was In),” “Heaven Help the Child,” “Frisco Depot,” and “San Francisco Mabel Joy.” Newbury’s tunes are often steeped in pathos: emotional, spiritual, and historical, yet steely in their unflinching honesty and in their revelations of vulnerability. Peters shines throughout, delivering them with an authority central to her own experience as a woman and as a songwriter. Her readings of lesser-known tunes such “The Sailor,” register as unearthed fables from the mists of time.
To read the review in its entirety, visit AllMusic.
Recently No Depression asked me to write about why Mickey Newbury resonates so strongly with me. I decided to write him a letter. Here’s an excerpt:
I was heading upstream, looking for the headwaters of a river the scope of which I barely comprehended. I traveled without a compass or a map. I went from point to point. I could sense that the tributaries of folk, country, bluegrass, and blues were all part of this same river, but I hadn’t yet begun to think of music as a natural, living thing; hadn’t understood that the same river that connected you to Stephen Foster connected me to you, too. At a time when I was struggling mightily to find my voice, I heard yours.
To read the letter in its entirety, visit No Depression.
Lyric Magazine reviewed The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury – here’s an excerpt:
Some exceptional artists like Brandy Clark, Lori McKenna, and Gretchen Peters write so well that their songwriting can overshadow their skill as performers. (The Nashville Establishment wrongly believes that women over 40 are not marketable, so some of this is due to these artists not being promoted the way they should be.) But they are exceptional performers. And when an exceptionally talented artist can deeply connect with great material, the result is a great record.
To read the review in its entirety, visit Lyric Magazine.
I spoke to Alison Dewar at Six Shooter Country recently about the new album and other things. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
You’ve said that having recorded this album, it had inspired your own songwriting – how does that work?
I think every time you sing someone else’s song, especially if you sing it live and then you record it, you learn something about how that song is constructed.
Singing someone else’s songs that I admire and love, every single time it makes me a better writer, it inspires me and makes me understand and internalize what it is about that song that moves me emotionally so much. In the case of these 12 songs of Mickey’s, it was a real education.
To read the interview in its entirety, visit Six Shooter Country.
No Depression reviewed The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury. An excerpt:
Following 2018’s virtuosic set Dancing with the Beast, Gretchen Peters releases her tribute to Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Mickey Newbury, who died in 2002 after releasing a number of albums, his songs recorded by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, and Elvis Presley. In the supplementary info included in the pre-release package, Peters articulated her criteria for selecting each tune: Did I love it? and Did I think I could bring something of myself to it? Listening to these tracks, one quickly witnesses Peters’ sincere appreciation for Newbury’s oeuvre, and she does indeed bring something of herself to these pieces, at least stylistically, and occasionally in terms of depth and perspective.
To read the review in its entirety, visit No Depression.
Your Life In A Song reviews The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury:
A formidable songwriter herself, Gretchen Peters has not so much copied these great songs but recreated them into worthy equals alongside the originals. Even after three outstanding albums of her own The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury shows that her artistry comes in many forms.
To read the full review in its entirety, visit Your Life In A Song.