Posted: 26 Apr 2015
first UK gig was in the North East 19 years ago. It’s been a slow rise and the
57-year-old New Yorker still plays Hall Two when she comes to The Sage, but
this time it was standing room only at the back. The mainstream aren’t likely to warm to an
artist whose last album – the brilliant ‘Hello Cruel World’ – was by her own
description her ‘existential crisis album’ while her new record, the
magnificent ‘Blackbirds’ is according to Peters, her ‘death’ album. She tells
her audience that there are people who find existential crisis and death depressing,
‘and then there’s us.’
her husband Barry Walsh on keyboards, multi-instrumentalist Christine Bougie
and newcomer Conor McCreanor on bass, Gretchen played two sets, showcasing many
songs from her new album in the first half. Given a five star review by The
Daily Telegraph amongst much critical acclaim, ‘Blackbirds’ is a deep album
worthy of the newest inductee into The Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
As if to
emphasise her pedigree, Peters’ hour-long second set includes only two from her
‘best of’ album. The first was the 1995 Country Music Association Song of the
Year, ‘Independence Day’. This was a big hit for Martina McBride, herself one
of a stellar list of people to record songs by Peters along with Bryan Adams,
Neil Diamond Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood and Faith Hill.
rarely touched even the fringes of the charts herself, Gretchen Peters has just
made Number One in the Country charts and even the lower reaches of the top 40.
It’s about time that the wider public began to realise how talented a
singer-songwriter she is and right now she’s at her peak.