New Release: Gretchen Peters – Blackbirds

New Release: Gretchen Peters – Blackbirds

Gretchen Peters - Blackbirds
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Fresh off her induction into the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Gretchen Peters has confirmed the 9th February release of her new album ‘Blackbirds.’ Co-produced with Doug Lancio and Barry Walsh and recorded in Nashville, the album features a who’s who of modern American roots music: Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, Will Kimbrough, Kim Richey, Suzy Bogguss and more. But it’s not the guests that make ‘Blackbirds’ the most poignant and moving album of the GRAMMY-nominee’s storied career; it’s the impeccable craftsmanship, her ability to capture the kind of complex, conflicting, and overwhelming emotional moments we might otherwise try to hide and instead shine a light of truth and understanding onto them.

The eleven tracks on ‘Blackbirds’ face down death with a dark grit and delicate beauty. “During the summer of 2013 when I began writing songs for ‘Blackbirds,’ there was one week when I went to three memorial services and a wedding,” remembers Peters. “It dawned on me that this is the way it goes as you get older – the memorial services start coming with alarming frequency and the weddings are infrequent and thus somehow more moving.”

She found herself drawn to artists courageous enough to face their own aging and mortality in their work (Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Lowe), but noticed all the material was coming from a male perspective. “As brave an artistic risk as it may be for a man, it’s much riskier for a woman to speak about it,” says Peters, whose incredible catalogue of songs—including “Independence Day” and “On A Bus To St. Cloud” — have been recorded by everyone from Martina McBride and Neil Diamond to Etta James and Trisha Yearwood. “Aging seems to be a taboo subject for female singer-songwriters, in part because our value has depended so much on our youth and sexuality. I want to write about that stuff because it’s real, it’s there, and so few women seem to be talking about it.”

In an atypical and unexpectedly rewarding move, Peters teamed with frequent tour-mate Ben Glover to co-write several tunes on the new album, which evokes the kind of 1970’s folk rock of Neil Young, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell that Peters grew up on, albeit with a more haunted, country-noir vibe simmering just below the surface.

Geographically, the album leaps around the country, with particularly heartrending stops in southern Louisiana at the scene of a crime (“Blackbirds”), Pelham, New York, where Peters probes the hidden darkness of the leafy suburbia in which she grew up (“The House On Auburn Street”), and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where a fisherman lays his wife to rest after losing everything in the BP oil spill (“Black Ribbons”). “When All You Got Is A Hammer” is the story of a veteran struggling to adjust to life at home after fighting overseas, while “The Cure For The Pain” takes place in the waning days of illness in a hospital, and “Nashville” brings us back to Peters’ adopted hometown.

Despite the varied locations, the songs on ‘Blackbirds’ are all inextricably tied together through their characters, whom Peters paints with extraordinary empathy and vivid detail.

‘Blackbirds’ follows Peters’ 2012 album ‘Hello Cruel World,’ which NPR called “the album of her career” and Uncut said “establishes her as the natural successor to Lucinda Williams.” If anything, though, ‘Blackbirds’ truly establishes Peters as a one-of-a-kind singer and songwriter, one in possession of a fearless and endlessly creative voice.

Upcoming Tour Dates

Date City Venue Country
Wed, 10th February 2021 Glasgow Community Central Hall UK
with special guest Kim Richey
Thu, 11th February 2021 Buxton Buxton Opera House UK
Fri, 12th February 2021 Leeds City Varieties UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Sun, 14th February 2021 Belfast The MAC UK
Mon, 15th February 2021 London Kings Place UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Wed, 17th February 2021 London Kings Place UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Thu, 18th February 2021 Birmingham Birmingham Town Hall UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Sat, 20th February 2021 Gateshead The Sage Gateshead UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Mon, 22nd February 2021 Liverpool Liverpool Philharmonic Hall UK
Wed, 24th February 2021 Wimborne Tivoli Theatre UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Thu, 25th February 2021 Milton Keynes The Stables UK
with special guest Kim Richey Buy Tickets
Fri, 26th February 2021 Bristol St Georges UK
Tue, 11th May 2021 Utrecht Tivoli Vrendenburg NL
Buy Tickets
Wed, 12th May 2021 Groningen SPOT NL
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Thu, 13th May 2021 Rotterdam LanterenVenster NL
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Fri, 14th May 2021 Maastricht Muziekgieterij NL
Sun, 16th May 2021 Arnhem Luxor Live NL
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Tue, 18th May 2021 - Tue, 25th May 2021 Budapest Danube River Cruise HU
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