My thanks to Americana UK for shining a light on a song that has been so important to me. Believe it or not, I wasn’t sure it would work on the Hello Cruel World album at first. I can’t even remember why now. I do know that after playing it for every audience on that UK tour with Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg, I changed my mind – or more accurately, they (the audiences) did.
Something about the heroine – and I do think of her as a heroine – in this song pulls at me. She’s flawed, no question, but she’s also brave and determined and ultimately vulnerable. She’s one of my favorite characters and I’m so glad she came to me to tell her story.
It’s not often you remember where you were when you heard a song for the first time. In June 2011, I was at the Stables in Wavendon, Milton Keynes, seeing Wine, Women & Song (Gretchen Peters, Matraca Berg and Suzy Bogguss playing in the round) when Peters announced she was going to play a new song. Five minutes later as the song finished there was a moment of silence as the audience held a breath before breaking out into rapturous applause.
To read this feature, visit Americana UK.
I enjoyed doing The Other 22 Hours podcast immensely. What a wonderful thing to be able to talk about some of the less frequently discussed aspects of the creative life – the other 22 hours besides the 2 you spend on stage. My thanks to Michaela Anne and Aaron Shafer-Haiss for inviting me.
You can listen at the link, and then go back and listen to other episodes – I guarantee you’re going to want to.
“From the opening song, the moving murder ballad “Blackbirds” (the body count at Gretchen’s shows is generally pretty high!) to the closer (an impromptu, solo acoustic rendition of “Love That Makes a Cup of Tea“ which I have on good authority was not included in any of the other dates on this tour) the mutual love between artist and audience was almost tangible throughout the two hour plus set.”
to read this review in its entirety, visit Country Lowdown.
“Neither singer nor audience wanted the evening to end, and Peters delivered an utterly enthralling show. She was backed by a trio of fine musicians, including her pianist husband Barry Walsh, who stood up from the keyboard to add accordion flourishes to a couple of numbers, including “The Matador” and Tom Russell’s exquisite and atmospheric “Gaudalupe”. At times I was reminded of early Hot Band… It was a generous and memorable 90 minute set that she closed with “One for My Baby”, the old Harold Arlen – Johnny Mercer chestnut from Burnt Toast and Offerings. Let’s hope the albums keep on coming.”
to read this review in its entirety, visit theartsdesk.com.
“An obvious leaning towards some of the newer material represents the prime evolution of Gretchen Peters’ songwriting. A skill that fermented like the finest old world wine. Of course there was space for some absolute live standards. Has she ever left a stage without singing ‘On a Bus to St. Cloud? The obligatory intro applause is another permanent fixture.
One of the many legacies of Gretchen Peters touring was the introduction to the music of Ben Glover. In a defiant show that the creative music making is far from over, we were introduced to a new song co-written with her long time writing collaborator. If ‘Judas Kiss‘ has the lasting effect of show opener ‘Blackbirds‘ (another Peters/Glover co-write), then this race is far from run…”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Three Chords And The Truth.
“What followed was spellbinding, The Matador was haunting; All You Got Is a Hammer was punchier than usual with Barry giving us some unexpectedly Jazzy flourishes on the piano.
Although I gave it a favourable review in 2015; I didn’t remember Pretty Things which found Gretchen being joined by Kim singing harmonies tonight; but vowed to seek it out when I got home … and it really is a cracker….
Every song was was both greeted and ended with tumultuous applause from a knowledgeable audience who knew that this was their last opportunity to hear these songs in this setting.
As the concert rattled through; the best was kept for last (I think) with a 3 star performance of Bus to St. Cloud which neatly preceded Five Minutes which left me gobsmacked; and I’ve seen and heard Gretchen Peters sing both in concert a few times …. but tonight…..”
To read this review in its entirety, visit The Rocking Magpie.
From Americana UK:
Back on the 12th August 2022 I opened an e-mail from Gretchen Peters as many would have done across the country that morning with the single word headline ‘Announcement’. Intrigued I quickly proceeded to cast my eyes over the following paragraphs and with every passing sentence felt my heart grow heavier, as if a dark cloud had suddenly darkened the sun replacing its comforting warmth with a distant chill. For the last two decades, Peters along with her partner in crime and soulmate Barry Walsh have brought their exquisite brand of americana music to these shores, gradually building an extensive fan base courtesy of eight studio albums that have helped set the benchmark for singer-songwriters throughout the twenty-first century, each crammed full of songs that for many have proved life-changing such is the quality of the craft. However with the e-mail came the sobering news that the forthcoming tour through May 2023 would be the last, a farewell tour, and a chance for Peters to say thank you for the decades of support….
To read the article and see the top 10 songs, visit Americana UK.
New for 2023: all CDs at my web store* are now available for $5. Not a sale! This is the new, permanent regular price. Some of you may stream your music for convenience but still collect CDs; hopefully this will give you a chance to fill in the gaps in your collection for a little less $$$.
Visit the web store to purchase CDs.
*does not apply to The Show: Live From The UK as we do not fulfill orders for that CD.
“I willingly got on that hamster wheel and didn’t get off for 15, 20 years,” she says “That’s where the burnout was coming in. I started to ask myself, why is the next step to make another album? And how long do I do this? So that was the biggest contributor to it, this feeling that the cycle just goes on and on.”
Peters also observes how much the music business has changed. “It seems like the life cycle of an album is about two weeks, then everybody forgets it. People’s attention spans are so short…”
To read this article in its entirety, visit Holler.
“A theme arose in the last few songs that reflected on running down in one way or another – with ‘Lay Low‘ introduced as having taken on a new meaning for it’s author recently, with the weariness of the chorus “think I need to lay low for a while stare at the Gulf of Mexico for a while / take it easy take it slow for a while” and the theme of aging and changing hitting home in a different way. Put another way – Gretchen Peters will be touring one last time in 2023. And having dropped that bombshell ‘Five Minutes‘, ‘On a bus to St. Cloud‘ and, most of all ‘To Say Goodbye‘ felt like an extended coda to that thought and the sense of a bittersweet ending. The encore, thankfully, opened with the upbeat ‘England Blues‘, which gave the band chance to show off what they could do before the poignant closers of ‘When You Are Old‘ and the spinechilling final song done, as Barry Walsh said “TFA – Totally Fucking Acoustic” with himself and Gretchen and Kim singing ‘Say Grace‘ off-mic..”
To read this review in its entirety, visit Americana UK. (photo: J. Aird)
“If there was one thing that really came home to me during the period when we weren’t able to tour, it was how important being in the same room with people is. Online concerts are great in lieu of nothing, but they’re not the same at all.”
Her reputation growing year by year, it must have taken some soul searching to decide to stop touring after this two-part tour. Was that down to having more time on her hands to think that over, or was she already thinking that way – pre-pandemic – with regard to announcing this final two-legged farewell tour?
“I’ll put it this way, I was definitely entertaining the questions, even before Covid happened. Even in 2018 and 2019, I was feeling the amount of work I was doing and the amount of touring we were doing was unsustainable in the long run, and I had to make some adjustments. And just dealing with the question of, ‘who am I if I’m not doing this?’ because I’ve been doing it for so long.
“But I definitely believe the pandemic put those questions in stark relief. It also gave me a lot of time to see what life looks like when you’re not constantly moving, and that was very educational. I think it certainly probably hastened my decision, or at least solidified it…”
To read this interview in its entirety, visit writewyattuk.
Although she had a new Live Album to promote; Gretchen still went ‘off piste’ tonight, by including a variety of songs from throughout her career; several which don’t appear on said Double Album. Many of the songs tonight, we know like the back of our hands (Say Grace and Blackbirds spring to mind) but others stretch the memory banks (When You Love Someone and the duet with Kim Richey Guadalupe) while others the audience may have been hearing for the very first time tonight; of these I’d forgot how wonderful Love and Texaco from 2000 was/is a genuine heartstring tugger; as was To Say Goodbye from 2007!
Highlights were certainly far too many to mention; although Bus to St. Cloud and Five Minutes both got 5 stars in my notes; which is as good as it gets.
To read this review in its entirety, visit The Rocking Magpie.
Structuring this live double album with many of her classic compositions upfront, Peters’ gloriously re-arranges half the set for the all-female Scottish string quartet that accompanies her. On the second half, however, it’s simply Peters and her now familiar backing band. Both parts possess light and shade, leaving plenty of space in the mix to let the emotions and messages shine through, making you eager to get out and enjoy her vital live act again…
To read this review in its entirety, visit Holler.