There are lyrics, and there are muse-inspired-words-as-gifts-from-the-heavens LYRICS. And Dancing With the Beast by Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter and singer Gretchen Peters is an album for the ages. It really taps into the zeitgeist of these tumultuous times, with nearly every song a mini-story of it’s own, told from different women’s vantage points. If you love ballads, this girl’s your girl…
There is darkness, I won’t lie, on this album, but it is the kind that rips you apart, sends you to hell and back. And when you resurface, you are changed. And lighter. Like when you exit a sad, sorrowful movie, tear-stained, into the sunlight, appreciative for your situation and circumstances.
Not familiar with Gretchen? Rick Bayles of Americana UK sums her bountiful songwriting skills and the breadth and depth of this latest album best:
Peters’ great strength as a songwriter is that she’s not afraid to take on the difficult subjects and not above shining a little light into those darker recesses of the soul. While others might write happy songs about new love or bittersweet reflections on past affairs this artist will readily take on old age, prostitution, child abuse – let’s not forget she first came to prominence as the writer of Martina McBride’s controversial single ‘Independence Day’, celebrating an abused wife fighting back; a song that went on to win Song of the Year at the Country Music Association’s awards in 1995 and earned Gretchen Peters a Grammy nomination. This new recording once again deals with the difficult subjects; these are adult content songs written for a thinking audience by an intelligent artist. The fact that they are also beautifully played, sung and produced is the icing on a particularly enjoyable cake.
Don’t take my words for it, or Rick Bayles’. Listen for yourself at her website. All I know is, it is MTPB: Music to paint by.
Disclaimer 1: Gretchen is my sister-in-law and her husband and band mate, sublime musician and composer-extraordinaire, Barry Walsh, my brother.
Disclaimer #2: I consider myself musically illiterate, having been kicked out of piano lessons taught by a widow whose sole income was teaching piano to the little children of Packanack Lake, NJ.