Every year I share this recipe from my grandmother Adele, and I think it would amaze her to know that there are people baking and enjoying her gingerbread all over the world. The recipe dates back to the 1910s, and when I was growing up, it wasn’t Christmas until she made it. This year, thanks to Andrew Newiss, who kindly translated the recipe, I’m including conversions and substitutions for those of you in the UK and Europe. This heavenly stuff will fill your home with the smell of Christmas and it’s every bit as good as it smells. Barry likes it with whipped cream; I’m a purist and prefer it all by its lovely self. Either way, give it a try. It might become your tradition too.

Adele’s Hot Water Gingerbread (UK & European conversions in parentheses)
1 cup butter (225g salted butter)
1 cup sugar (165g dark soft brown sugar)
1 cup blackstrap molasses (342g or 236ml Lyle’s Black Treacle)
1 tsp. baking soda (1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda)
1 1/2 cups boiling water (355ml boiling water)
2 large eggs
3 cups flour (420g plain white flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
Beat all ingredients together with electric beater. Bake at 350° (180°C) in two square pans (20cm x 20cm x 5 cm) or one oblong pan (33 x 23 x 5 cm) for 45 minutes or until knife comes clean.

If you’d like some Christmas music to bake by, my album Northern Lights (out of print on CD) is available for downloading on iTunes and Bandcamp, and you can stream it at Apple Music and Spotify.

The Black Friday sale at gretchenpeters.com starts November 23rd! Save 20% storewide starting 23 November through 27 November (Cyber Monday) – just use the discount code blackfriday at checkout.

In addition, the Blackbirds and Hello Cruel World CDs are on sale for just $5 apiece!

Visit the web store starting Friday, November 23rd to shop.

*20% discount is storewide and includes handwritten lyrics.

I will be facilitating a three day intensive songwriting workshop in conjunction with Performing Songwriter in 2019. Each of these workshops is limited to a small number of registrants to ensure a personal and unmatched experience with one-on-one access to the teachers. We will dig deep into the art and the craft of songwriting. You’ll leave tired and inspired! This workshop will take place in Nashville from February 21-23 and will include the following:

  • Building the backstory for your song
  • Finding the melody of a character
  • How to arrange a song
  • Surprise Guest Speakers & Musical events
  • Song Critiques & sharpening skills with Gretchen and her guest teacher
  • A One-on-One session with Gretchen

In addition to the intensive days of songwriting, you’ll enjoy a surprise once-in-a-lifetime private concert, a closing night group dinner and song circle, buffet breakfasts on Thursday and Friday mornings, surprise guest songwriting friends of Gretchen’s who will join us and inspire you, and an opening night dinner on Wednesday evening Feb. 20 at a Nashville home with Gretchen!

This is my only scheduled Nashville songwriting workshop for 2019, and it will sell out, so be sure to register soon! You can find all the details and register at Performing Songwriter.

I’m thrilled to announce the Strings Attached Tour, coming to the UK for eight very special shows in April 2019. Along with my band, Barry Walsh, Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean, we’ll be joined by the Southern Fried String quartet at each of these shows. Reprising our set at the Southern Fried Festival in Perth, Scotland last summer, with beautiful string arrangements by Scottish violinist Patsy Reid, come join us and hear these songs like you’ve never heard them before. Ticket links below:

13 April – Gala, Durham

14 April – Whitby Pavilion, Whitby

16 April – RNMC, Manchester

17 April – Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield

19 April – St George’s, Bristol

20 April – Cadogan Hall, London

22 April – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea

23 April – The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

 

Last month we visited Mountain Stage for my fourth (!) appearance there. We joined guests Livingston Taylor, Jill Barber, Amber Rubarth and Sean Rowe for the evening and had, as always, a fabulous time. Our performance will be broadcast this week on local NPR stations all over the USA – check your local listings to hear the whole show. In the meantime, our live performance of “Say Grace” is Mountain Stage’s Song of Week this week. Enjoy!

Carlene Carter concluded her first “Wonderful World of Women Who Write” series of in-the-round performances at Nashville’s Bluebird Café Tuesday night, with the casual atmosphere, off-kilter humor, surprise guests and memorable performances making for an enchanting pre-Halloween treat. Featuring Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg, with additional unannounced performances by Terri Clark and Erin Enderlin, the two-hour show at Nashville’s iconic listening room was yet another reminder of the empowering role of women in country music…

…other highlights of the night included Peters’ “On a Bus to St. Cloud” — recorded by Trisha Yearwood in 1995 — her haunting “The Matador” and “Disappearing Act,” a track from her outstanding 2018 LP Dancing With the Beast and one that reduced Berg to tears. Peters explained that the song was inspired by her late mother, noting, “After she died, she started coming back and feeding me songs.”

To read this review in its entirety, visit Rolling Stone Country.

Last month, I got together with actor & singer-songwriter Elizabeth McGovern (Ordinary People, Downton Abbey) at her house in London for a Talkhouse podcast. We talked about music, marriage, acting, feminism, Downton Abbey, and much more. It was an exhilarating hour which flew by – and now you can listen in on our conversation.

Download our chat for Talkhouse at iTunes, Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts; or you can listen right here.

Our entire set from Shrewsbury Folk Festival, recorded on 26 August 2018, is now available to watch on YouTube. Featuring Barry Walsh on keyboards, Conor McCreanor on bass and Colm McClean on electric guitar, the show was part of the Dancing With The Beast European Tour which took us to festivals in the UK as well as tour dates in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and France. You can watch the whole set here – and while you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and be the first to know when new videos are posted!

“When I turn on the radio – which is rarely – but when I do it just seems like it’s just pure testosterone. Honestly, one thing I think we all have to remember is people programming commercial stations are not selling music, they’re not selling songs – they’re selling tires, deodorant, whatever they’re running ads for.”

“I started to feel like there was no room for the types of songs I wrote. I could hear it, it doesn’t take a genius to listen to the radio and figure out things are going east and you’re going west.” Welcoming these songs would make the radio “more diverse, more varied, just by the nature of [women’s] own experiences.”

To read this interview in its entirety, visit PopScure.