Live Review: The Sage, Gateshead, UK

Record Collector Magazine

Gretchen Peters
Gateshead Sage 2
View: rear stalls seating
There’s a persuasive quality to Gretchen Peters’ human condition songs, such as Woman On The Wheel, the hall filling with melody and texture as Peters, husband Barry Walsh (piano.accordion/vocals) and Christine Bougie (pedal steel) added carefully judged colour to Peters’ acoustic guitar and crystal clear vocals. Walsh and Bougie left the stage as Gretchen took to the piano for a solo, slowed-down version of Independence Day, and she noted, “I write a happy song once every 10 years”, her sombre tone demonstrated on Idlewild. Still, here the trio cranked up the atmosphere, Bougie’s steel adding mystery and Peters singing about the disintegration of her parents’ marriage and America’s loss of innocence as the song built to an interlocking instrumental climax. The Stones’ Wild Horses, complete with Walsh encouraging everyone to sing the chorus, fitted in seamlessly with her own observational material and made a strong closer to a memorable performance.
-Ian Ravendale