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.
Folk Alley posted Kelly McCartney’s review of The Night You Wrote That Song – here’s an excerpt:
…track after track, Peters and company take their time to let these compositions breathe deeply and fully. But just because the performances are intentionally languid doesn’t mean they’re at all lazy. Quite the opposite, actually. Take Peters’ approach to a single recurring line in “Wish I Was” — “a grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be” — she infuses it with all she has; she just does so gently, but no less potently.
To read the review in its entirety, visit Folk Alley.
Ahead of the digital release of The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury tomorrow, The Bluegrass Situation has premiered another track from the album, “Leavin’ Kentucky”.
“This song was one of the first ones of Mickey’s I ever heard, and the line ‘the road down to Nashville’s like crystal and stone’ is what hooked me. That a country song could wring as much poetry out of a line about asphalt still floors me. This is a song about the agony of love — not just heartbreak, but a hurt so deep that you wish you could cut it out of yourself (‘take a .44 pistol to me’). That was something Newbury did better than anyone — pure pain. We wanted it to feel loose and a little ragged, like a track The Band would’ve cut.” — Gretchen Peters
Visit The Bluegrass Situation to listen to the track.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview with Off The Record UK:
Had you always known that you wanted to put out your own music, even though you did start as a songwriter? I feel like you’ve recently hit this gorgeous niche in your music with your recent albums.
It’s funny you say that because, one of the reasons why I felt like it was time to do this Mickey Newbury record, was because the last three albums I put out, I had come to a resting place. What I mean is, if someone asked me ‘what do you do?’ I could give them those three albums and could feel completely satisfied in that. I felt like I had found my home artistically, and so I don’t think I could make this record of Newbury songs until I had got to that place. I always felt like I had more to say. In a way, the two things were really related for me. The time was right, and all of a sudden the studio appeared and it felt like the universe was saying ‘ok, it’s time.’
To read the interview in its entirety, visit Off The Record UK.
I talked to Lesley Hastings of Think Country recently about Mickey Newbury and The Night You Wrote That Song – here’s an excerpt:
LH I know that this album has been a labour of love and has been many years in the making. Would you say, in part, that is because reinterpreting another artist’s work brings with it added responsibility?
GP There’s no question I felt a responsibility to do right by him. It was a daunting thought, partly because Mickey’s own records and performances were so stunning. Besides being a brilliant songwriter, he was a world-class singer and a great guitar player. So maybe that contributed to my taking my time to get the album done – but the main reason it took so long is that until I put out Dancing With The Beast I felt like I still had things that needed saying, songs and records of my own I needed to record. I felt, after Dancing came out, that I’d put out three really strong records in a row (starting with Hello Cruel World), and had nothing to prove to anyone, most importantly myself.
LH But of course another reason is just the sheer volume of songs there were for you to choose from. Can you tell me how you went about selecting the twelve that finally made the cut?
GP I knew from the start that I didn’t want to make a record of Newbury’s hits. The most important two things for me were 1) did I love the song and 2) did I feel like I could bring something to it? A lot of my favorite songs of his are not well known. I have loved “The Sailor” and “Leavin’ Kentucky”, for instance, for decades, and they’re both fairly obscure. It was freeing to forget about presenting some kind of representative survey of his songs and just choose the ones I wanted to sing. In the end, that’s the only thing you can do. It’s not like I’m improving on the originals, so it was best to choose the ones I feel most deeply, and hope that comes through in the recording.
Here’s an excerpt from a new review of The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury from Glide Magazine:
To read the review in its entirety, visit Glide Magazine.
I spoke to Mark Engleson from Lyric Magazine about Mickey Newbury, the new album and a lot more recently:
One thing I will say is that you don’t really know the DNA of a song until you take it apart and try to put it back together again to record it. I’m a longtime fan, since my teens, but I didn’t really know these songs inside and out the way I do now. Some of the things that I took away is how much he played with structure. Some of these songs have decidedly weird structures.
The other thing is, he would re-record them or play them live, and sometimes take a piece of a song and put in the middle. He’s constantly playing with it. It wasn’t set in stone. I worried about that a little bit when I was recording, and I actually reached out to a couple of people who were very close to him, who played with him, played music with him. I talked to Wayne Moss at the studio where we recorded. I even talked to a couple of family members to get permission, I guess, to rearrange some things to suit me in the songs.
To read the interview in its entirety, visit Lyric Magazine.
A five star review in the latest edition of Country Music People magazine (UK) for The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury – here’s an excerpt:
Gretchen Peters tribute to Mickey Newbury hits the target. The songs are well-chosen, the vocals top-notch and the production breathes air into the fantastic songs. The backing musicians also add much to the superb release… what are you waiting for? Buy this album!
You can subscribe or get a digital copy of the May 2020 issue here.
On Saturday May 9 at 5pm Eastern time I’ll be joining up with Guitar Mash for a virtual campfire session on Instagram Live. I’ll be joined by Barry Walsh along with Mark Stewart from Guitar Mash, and we’ll be playing two songs (“Wild Horses” (The Rolling Stones)
and “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” (John Prine) and you can play along! Download the charts and lyrics here, grab your guitar and join us Saturday afternoon at Guitar Mash’s Instagram Live.
Thanks to Amos Perrine and No Depression for featuring my upcoming album The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury.
…Singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters took on the daunting task of picking 12 songs from the Mickey Newbury songbook. The collection of songs is a good representation of Newbury’s albums through the 1970s. Peters, like Newbury, constructs her songs like a play that tells the story of American life. The songs she selected are not necessarily Newbury’s best known, but even on the better known ones — “The Sailor,” “San Francisco Mabel Joy,” and “Heaven Help the Child” — Peters gives them new life via her soulful interpretations…
To read the feature in its entirety, visit No Depression.