From The Tennessean:

…in making her Ryman debut, newcomer Brittany Spencer sang a riveting take of “Independence Day” for Gretchen Peters, who tearfully watched from the Ryman pews; Peters and (Curly) Putnam joined (Loretta) Lynn in earning a Poet’s Award.

“I was a fool to think I wouldn’t cry,” Peters said, adding: “I really believe that songwriting is a calling and what we do is much, much more than entertainment. At their best, song are empathy machines. … They take us into other worlds, they let us stand in somebody else’s shoes for a few minutes. Songs can literally change the world. And the world needs love and empathy more than it ever has.”

I had a great conversation with writer Kim Ruehl for her Folk Alley podcast “Why We Write” a few weeks ago. The episode is out today and we covered all manner of topics, from failure to the importance of rhyme, and much more. You can listen at Folk Alley.

More from Kim:

Gretchen Peters has earned enough accolades and awards that one could easily tout the success of her songwriting by listing all those things. But the true success of a song is how it hits the listener in the heart, and Peters is certainly expert at that, as well. In addition to the numerous songs she’s written for Nashville stars, she has also penned a great many for herself, earning the respect of fellow songwriters as she goes. She also teaches songwriting, and her songwriting workshops are well worth your time, whether you are trying to make a living in songwriting or whether you just have some thoughts and feelings that you’d like to get out in that way.

When I started doing this podcast, Gretchen Peters was one of the first artists I knew I had to talk to. I always learn a great deal about the art and craft of songwriting whenever she opens her mouth. So, sit back and enjoy this episode of Why We Write, featuring Gretchen Peters.

The Academy of Country Music announced today the recipients of the Special Awards for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. I’m honored to be receiving the Poet’s Award from the Academy this summer, at an event taking place Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

More from the ACM:

Honorees will be celebrated during the 14th Annual ACM Honors, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 55th and 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors for specific achievements.

Loretta Lynn, Gretchen Peters and Curly Putman (posthumously) have been chosen as recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award. This award is presented to a Country Music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of Country Music.

Tickets will go on-sale to the general public at 10 AM CST Friday, June 18, 2021 at Prices range from $85- $142.

I’m happy to say all of my UK tour dates which were canceled due to COVID have been rescheduled, and are now on sale. If you had a ticket to a canceled show it will be honored by the venue. Please contact the venue with any questions.

Shows from 25 March through 2 April 2022 will be an intimate evening looking back on 25 years of touring the UK. I’ll share road stories and reach back into my catalog to play some of the songs I brought to the UK when I started touring. I’ll be joined by Barry Walsh, and Kim Richey will be my special guest.

Shows from 3 April onward will be full band shows, featuring Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean, with special guest Kim Richey. We’ll be playing some new songs from The Night You Wrote That Song, for the first time since the album was released. We can’t wait to get back to the UK!

I spoke with Andrew Daly of Vinyl Writer recently. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

I think that when you are telling stories, you are always telling your story. In songwriting it’s more important to tell the truth than the facts. And your truth is informed by your story. So when I’m writing a story about a character (and most of my songs are character-driven), I spend a lot of time talking with that character, finding out who she is. And the parts of her that I empathize with – in fact, the whole reason I’m compelled to write about her – is because of who I am and what I’ve experienced. I just don’t think there’s any other way to write authentically. Our common humanity is what we have to offer, as writers – to hold up a mirror so that listeners can see themselves.

To read the interview in its entirety, visit Vinyl Writer.

I’m happy to announce a brand new February Master Class with my friend Mary Gauthier. We’re teaming up to bring you “Writing Songs from Behind Someone Else’s Eyes.” In this workshop, we’ll take a deep dive into creating authentic narrators, breaking through writer’s block, and tapping into the power of empathy.  We’ll also have a VERY special guest joining us (TBA shortly) that you definitely won’t want to miss. Class size will be limited to 25 students. 📚 Register now

Many thanks to for naming The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury one of the best Americana albums of the year. From AllMusic:

****One of America’s finest songwriters offers a deep, revelatory dive into the songs of the late, great Mickey Newbury.

This was a really a special project to me, one that was years in the making. What a great Christmas gift to have it acknowledged this way. I hope I brought Mickey a few more fans to the fold.

I’m very proud to announce that my latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, has been included in Folk Alley’s Top 20 of 2020. This was a labor of love project, something I wanted to do for years but with no idea how it would be received. Mickey Newbury had a profound influence on me as a young songwriter and I believe he’s been perennially overlooked and unsung as the groundbreaking songwriter and artist he was. I’m so thrilled to see that his songs are reaching a new audience. Thank you Folk Alley!

Happy Halloween! I’ve just released “The Cruel Mother”, a Child Ballad from the 17th century which has been sung myriad times since, with varying melodies, lyrics and even with different titles (The Greenwood Side, Greenwood Sidey, etc.) . It’s a ghost story – most certainly meant as a cautionary tale for unwed mothers. Barry Walsh and recorded it live at home in separate rooms, with no eye contact, so the performance was based entirely on sensing each other’s movements with no strict time in place. We later added David Henry on cello, and the track was originally released as a bonus track for fans who ordered my Blackbirds album on presale.

I wanted to release it now for the Halloween season, a dark song for these dark times – but as always, I find there’s beauty in the darkness if you look for it. You can find it on all digital platforms now. The video is also available on YouTube.

I hope you enjoy it – stay well.


I talked with Brandon Harrington recently for his podcast, Surviving The Music Industry. We had a wide (really wide!) ranging chat and you can listen to the whole thing wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Or click on the link below.
From SMI:

Daughter of a screen and Civil-Rights writer and housewife Gretchen Peters fully admits to having a childhood like the AMC hit MADMEN, automatically should set the pace to living an internal artist life like songwriting. A sudden life shift brought Gretchen to Boulder, Colorado, and thus began a love of country, Mickey Newbury, jam bands, and the freaks and misfits alike. In conversation, Gretchen shares the truth behind Martina McBride’s, “Independence Day,” and the inspirations behind the major characters from her biggest songs. The threads that make a Peters song, and what got her songs cut during a pivotal moment for women in country music.

Listen here.

It’s important to pause and consider this album for what it really is – an homage to Mickey Newbury, a songwriter who shaped Gretchen Peters’ own lyrical scope, for sure, but also an album where Peters, a gifted songwriter in her own right, offers, above all else, respect. The Songs Of Mickey Newbury isn’t a collection of hit records, and by honoring a songwriter who acted as a storyteller first and foremost, Peters honors the lyric and understands the characters here better than anyone before, save for Newbury himself.

It’s hard not to see the parallels between the two songwriters – both are observational poets who question themselves and the world around them, yet never quite come to any comfortable conclusions, because real life doesn’t always work that way. They serve blunt honesty meant to inspire, question and act accordingly, all while sprinkling in some lighthearted humor along the way, even if it’s of a drier variety.

To read this review in its entirety, visit Country Universe.