GRAMMY-nominated Nashville songwriting hall of fame star Gretchen Peters will pay a second visit to the islands this summer for a trio show.
Joining her on stage at Mareel will be husband and pianist/accordionist Barry Walsh and bassist Conor McCreanor, as well as special guest Kim Richey, a two-time Grammy nominee in her own right who features on Peters’ new LP and will perform her own solo set.
The tour will be in support of Peters’ new album Dancing With the Beast, which also sees the revered singer-songwriter perform at venues including Edinburgh’s Queens Hall, Cadogan Hall in London and Birmingham Town Hall.
Peters and Walsh previously performed a well-attended duo show at Mareel in July 2016, and will perform at the same venue on Thursday 7 June.
In addition to Peters and Richey, local singer-songwriters Sheila Henderson and Freda Leask will also perform a joint set.
The New York-born, Colorado-raised singer moved to Nashville in the late 1980s and quickly garnered a formidable reputation as one of her generation’s most compelling songwriters.
In 2014 she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame by Rodney Crowell, who described her as “both a songwriter and a poet [who] sings as beautifully as she writes”.
Peters has dueted with Canadian pop-rocker Bryan Adams, and penned the song Independence Day, popularised by Martina McBride, as well as writing material performed by the likes of Shania Twain and Neil Diamond.
Her own work is rooted in a powerful vein of alternative country, with her 2015 album Blackbirdsdebuting at number one on the UK country chart and reaching the top 40 of the main UK charts – going on to win international album of the year and song of the year at the UK Americana Awards the following year.
Dancing With the Beast puts female characters to the fore – from teenage girls to old women – and intentionally so.
With the 2017 Women’s March and the #MeToo movement bookending her writing time, Peters knew a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record.
“Those two events just put everything – as so many things in 2017 – in really stark relief,” she says. “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to Independence Day and probably before.
“The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and centre. It was very easy to kind of go to sleep for a while and just not think about that stuff because we were lulled into complacency for eight years.”
Richey, meanwhile, has just released Edgeland, her first album in five years, which features writing contributions and instrumentation from Chuck Prophet and Pat McLaughlin.
The 61 year old has also written hits for high profile commercial artists including Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Jim Lauderdale, and sang vocals on Ryan Adams’ Come Pick Me Up on his seminal album Heartbreaker, as well as Jason Isbell’s much-praised Southeastern LP.
Having grown up in Ohio, Richey eventually moved to Nashville and thrived on the progressive side of mainstream country with a string of twang-pop albums in the late 1990s.
Prior to Edgeland, in 2013 she released the highly-rated Thorn in my Side – featuring guest appearances from Yearwood, Isbell and members of My Morning Jacket and Wilco – on Yep Roc records.
- Tickets to see Gretchen Peters and her trio, with special guest Kim Richey and support from Sheila Henderson & Freda Leask, are on sale now priced £20 (concessions £16) from the Shetland Arts box office.
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