Award-winning, Grammy nominated Gretchen Peters (accompanied by the incomparable Barry Walsh on the piano!) will be coming back to Sundilla on Friday, May 1, in what is sure to be an evening of music that will never be forgotten. Showtime at the AUUF is 7:30; admission at the door will be $15, but a limited number of $12 advance tickets will be available at Spicer’s Music, Mama Mocha’s Coffee, and online at www.sundillamusic.com. Free coffee, tea, water and food will be available, though as always attendees are welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.
It wasn’t that long ago that Gretchen was here, but there have been two notable updates to her resume. Shortly after her last visit, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, joining a list that is a veritable who’s who of songwriters. And, she released her latest CD, “Blackbirds,” which is garnering some of the best reviews of her illustrious career. This Sundilla appearance is a stop on the Blackbirds CD Release Tour.
The Associated Press says “This is not jukebox music – the stuff that exists to fill in the pauses in conversation. This IS the conversation.” Since arriving in Nashville in the late-80s, Gretchen Peters has become one of the most successful, and revered, songwriters in music. And after receiving a Grammy nomination and a Song of the Year Award in 1995, Peters finally had the clout to do what she had always wanted: to become a singer-songwriter.
Until then, she had been trapped in a music business culture that typically perceived “singer” and “songwriter” as different jobs. “The either/or attitude was baffling, since all my favorite artists also wrote their own material,” Peters says. “My decision to pursue a publishing deal was based on wanting to be understood for who I am. I was afraid that if I got signed to a record deal as an artist, I’d never get to sing my own songs. I never had any aspirations of being a hit songwriter for other artists.”
Peters’ own voice and guitar playing had been at the core of her music since she started performing in the Boulder, Colorado folk circuit as a teenager. Inspired by Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and a new generation of songwriters rising out of Nashville that included Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith and Rodney Crowell, Peters relocated to Music City in the late 1980s. Initially she found Nashville inspiring. “Being in a place where you can hear so many good songwriters perform their work on just an acoustic guitar really made me understand the anatomy of songs in a way I didn’t until I moved here,” Peters relates. “Just listening closely to other people who were good at their craft shaped me as a writer.” Now, with monster hits on her resume and songs recorded by the likes of Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Neil Diamond, George Strait, and Etta James, she was able to realize her dream.
She released her debut album The Secret of Life in 1996. Since then Peters has recorded six other solo albums: Gretchen Peters (2001), Halcyon (2004), Trio Live (2006), Burnt Toast and Offerings (2007) and Northern Lights (2008). The compilation Circus Girl was released in 2009. And that same year Peters collaborated with one of her favorite songwriters, Tom Russell, for their One To the Heart, One To the Head. And in 2012 she released her best yet, Hello Cruel World, which has been called “the album of her career” and “the most important record to emerge in 2012.”
“Since I was a child I’ve had a creative urge knocking inside me and I’ve acted on it,” Peters says. “Early on it was poetry, sometimes art, and sometimes, as a kid, dance. Until I found the guitar I was interested in anything expressive. By then words were a friend, but music was a tall dark stranger that I’ve been in love with, or maybe stalking, ever since.” Come to the concert, and prepare to fall in love yourself.
Gretchen Peters (again, with Barry Walsh!) will stop at Sundilla on her Blackbirds CD Release Tour on Friday, May 1. Showtime at the AUUF is 7:30; admission at the door will be $15, but a limited number of $12 advance tickets will be available at Spicer’s Music, Mama Mocha’s Coffee, and online at www.sundillamusic.com. There will be free coffee, tea, water and food, though as always attendees are welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.