Tuesday, July 24, 2007

now playing:Gretchen Peters


Burnt Toast & Offerings


The unraveling of of a deeply felt relationship -- and many not so deeply felt ones -- is common territory for songwriters. The downs and ups and the just thinking about it all, and the just surviving it all, are the through line of what Gretchen Peters wrtites about on this album. That she comes at such an often treated subject with freshness and grace will be no surprise to those who know her work, and to those who don’t it’s reason to get to know her.


You may actually know her songs better than you know her name, at least if you live in the United States. Martina McBride, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Ryan Adams, Shania Twain, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, and Longview are some of those who have found her ideas and her way with words and melody compelling. Though she is based in Nashville, it is in the UK that she’s as well known as a performer as she is as a writer.

Either way you come at this disc, it’s a fine one. Peters has an expressive, conversational soprano with which she illuminates the searching Ghost and the not so complete resignation of To Say Goodbye, and rocks out on the to hell with it story of England Blues. The Way You Move Me is a gorgeous love song, and Jezebel a somewhat enigmatic look at the other side of that, while Breakfast at Our House is a three minute novel so vividly imagined you can smell the burnt toast. The other tracks are equally strong, both on their own and as part of the unfolding story.

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