I’ve got a full schedule at this year’s AmericanaFest, including an official showcase (with full band) and shorter sets at several other events around town. You can catch me at:

12 September • 12pm – Proper Music Party at Nashville Underground

12 September • 3pm – Missing Piece Group’s 10th Anniversary Party at Diskin Cider

13 September • 8:30pm – OFFICIAL SHOWCASE (full band show) at The Anchor

14 September • 11am – Under The Sun at L27 Rooftop Bar

Trisha Yearwood‘s new album Every Girl is out August 30, and it includes her gorgeous version of “The Matador”, a song originally released in 2012 on my album Hello Cruel World. In this interview with Rolling Stone, she talks about why she was moved to record the song, and her own interpretation of the lyrics:

“The Matador” creates such an intriguing, cinematic picture. What is it about this song that haunted you and made you want to record it?
Everybody has their own interpretation, but for me, the whole metaphor of “The Matador” is about music. And I kept thinking of Garth and myself with lines in the song — “He’s only alive when he’s in the ring.” You take your own life, and you always dramatize it for music, you know? And for me, it was like, “Man, I could make the story fit. I can make this work in a very dramatic fashion.” But I love the mysterious melody and the weirdness of some of the lyrics where you’re like, “I don’t even understand what that means. I don’t know what ‘snakes and snails and alcohol’ refers to, but it makes me scared and I like it.”

Great stuff. I love it when a song has room for the singer and the listener to put themselves in it. You can read the entire interview here.

Need To Know Music in Santa Cruz, CA is releasing a limited edition single with two new, unreleased songs – “The Last Day of the Year” b/w “In Costanza’s Kitchen” will be released on September 5th. The 7″ vinyl single is pressed on opaque white vinyl and limited to a run of 500 copies. The songs will be available digitally for download and streaming.

If you’re in the US, you can order at Need To Know Music.

If you’re outside the US, you can order at my website.

Like so many people, Gretchen Peters woke up on Nov. 9, 2016 dazed and wondering how to proceed with her work. It took some time, but her response to the presidential election came in her 2018 album Dancing with the Beast (Scarlet Letter Records). Suffused with regrets, backward glances, and sublimated anger, it’s a gorgeous, often haunting collection of songs that capture a kaleidoscopic array of women going about their lives. In other words, it’s a Gretchen Peters album, but situated along the fault lines that divide past and present and our dreams from our reality.

To read this interview in its entirety, visit Berkeleyside.

Just released – a new episode of Sodajerker, a fascinating podcast where co-hosts Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor have an in-depth conversation with a songwriter. This week that songwriter happens to be me. It was great to sit down and talk with them about songs and songwriting. From Sodajerker:

Country noir superstar Gretchen Peters explains the process she embarks upon when creating the cinematic and socially conscious songs that have become her calling card. In our in-depth conversation, the Nashville stalwart describes the writing of recent albums like Blackbirds and Dancing With The Beast, her classic hits for the likes of Martina McBride, Bonnie Raitt and Trisha Yearwood, and her collaborative partnership with Bryan Adams.

To listen to the podcast, visit Sodajerker, where you can download the episode (you can also listen in Apple Podcasts), and listen to a companion Spotify playlist.

Every year, around this time, you’ll hear “Independence Day” on the radio, at fourth of July celebrations, and during fireworks displays. I’m grateful to Claire Shaffer and Rolling Stone for doing the deep dive on this song that changed my life. And, as always, to Martina McBride for her courage and belief in it, from day one.
You can read the article in its entirety at Rolling Stone Country.

I talked to Jane Kramer (who is opening our upcoming show at Isis Music Hall in Asheville, NC this week) recently about songwriting, empathy, feminism and the secret recording project I’ve been working on for the past 2 1/2 years. We had a great, wide-ranging conversation, and you can find out what I’ve been up to and read the interview at Ashvegas:

One woman and the truth: Gretchen Peters on songwriting, empathy and second-wave feminism

…there is always one thing holding everything together in any work of Gretchen Peters, and that is the clear mark of a master storyteller at work.

There are few songwriters of Gretchen Peter’s quality out there at the moment (or any moment) and although her songs cover many diverse subjects it is as a writer of “women’s songs” that Gretchen excels, and over the 3 to 5 minutes of a song’s time frame, works like “Arguing With Ghosts”, “Blackbirds”, “The Boy From Rye” and “Wichita” give us real stories of real people that are full of emotion and often pain.  There is always something about Gretchen’s vocals on these songs that makes you believe that these are real friends, perhaps more than that even, they have become “ghosts on stage” with her over the years…

To read this review in its entirety, visit The Southside Advertiser Edinburgh.

photo by Rebecca Kemp

…Peters’ style is stripped back, raw and melodic and the purity of her voice lends itself beautifully to the most majestic of songs. The soulful smoothness of Say Grace, from her 2018 album Dancing With The Beast, was simply stunning; while The Matador, where she was joined on stage by Seonaid from the accompanying Southern Fried String Quartet, a group she first collaborated with at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival in 2018, attracted some of the biggest applause of the night and delivered a real ‘wow’ factor. Fellow Quartet member Alice brought her cello on stage for the song Five Minutes, before Idlewild finished off the first half….

To read this review in its entirety, visit Six Shooter Country.

photo by Andrew Newiss

“…Even after accommodating Walsh’s grand piano and a podium for the string quartet the stage looked spacious. The Cadogan’s acoustics were perfect and filled to its 950 capacity it was the ideal setting for an evening of musical engrossment. And how that was rewarded. Peters pulled no punches with her opener ‘When All You Got is a Hammer’, a deeply moving picture of the damage wrought on the family of those from war. The band gave a sense of restlessness to the opening of ‘Disappearing Act’ so, “Good things come, good things go/ If it lifts you up it will lay you low” came as little surprise. Also from the latest record was ‘Wichita’, a brooding, menacing song Peters tells as its principal character, a ‘little kid’…”

To read this review in its entirety, visit Your Life in a Song.

“…Like many of Peters’ songs, there was a narrative and a picture woven before your eyes that transported you to that time and place. With a voice that can sound as if she has been bruised and damaged but which can then go on to soar, she’s like a blend of Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Rickie Lee Jones but ultimately her voice remains distinctly her own. ‘Wichita’ was a brooding song full of darkness and despair from the viewpoint of a twelve-year-old but also with a measure of hope and triumph in adversity by way of revenge. ‘Save Grace’, ‘Everything Falls Away’ and ‘The Matador’, the latter a lyrical masterpiece with a mesmerising vocal performance by Peters and a highlight of the first set, were all received warmly by the attentive audience before the beautiful ‘Five Minutes’ and then ‘Idlewild’ ended the first set of the evening…”

To read this review in its entirety, visit Americana-UK.

Many thanks to Tidal for the opportunity to write about two of my biggest heroes, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. This essay was published March 7, 2019 to mark Women’s History Month. An excerpt:

“My real education in songwriting began that night. You have to be real. The songs come from a place that lives deep inside you. The rest is show business; the songs are bits of your soul. You don’t create them from shiny, sequined words, you create them from that place that holds your pain, your dreams, your unguarded self. The reason the circus is magic is because, beneath all the tawdry sparkle and sleight of hand, there is a child’s innocent heart. So it was, and is, with Dolly.”

To read this essay in its entirety, visit Tidal Read.

When it comes to poetry, I can think of no other songwriter who gets it the way Gretchen Peters does. A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Peters wrote “Independence Day,” which became a huge hit for Martina McBride. “Independence Day” catapulted Peters to the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year award in 1995.

She sang it in Lewisville, offering up a solo acoustic version, complemented by her own deft work on the piano.

Peters shared with the crowd how vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin co-opted the song during the 2008 campaign, against Peters’ wishes, and how the songwriter sought to “reclaim” it and restore the full luster of its poetry. It is not a flag-waving anthem, as Palin sought to make it by seizing only on the chorus and not the rest of the lyrics, which read like the pages of a chilling work of fiction.

It’s a song about a battered woman who puts an end to being a victim, who seeks her own “Independence Day.”

My own favorite song of Peters’ is “Idlewild,” which chronicles the 1960s as well as any poem I’ve ever heard. It carries a truism common to all great songs or great poems: You learn something new every time you hear it.

Peters led a lyrical parade of tunes from her new album, Dancing with the Beast, whose entries shimmer like finely crafted short stories, albeit with a dark undercurrent that profiles its hard-life heroines in strikingly different ways. She also sang her achingly beautiful “Five Minutes,” which actress Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) has covered with her band, Sadie and Hotheads.

To read this review in its entirety, visit the Dallas Morning News.