Gretchen Peters latest album is a timely look at mortality and the accretion of experience we build up as the years rack up. The lauded Nashville singer songwriter has won enough awards to fill many mantlepieces over her career, and was recently inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. On ‘Blackbirds’ Peters has special guests Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, Will Kimbrough, Kim Richey and Suzy Bogguss. Some of the songs she co-wrote with touring partner Ben Glover.
Peters neat twist on the subject of ageing and maturing is to do it from a female perspective, something that gives depth and a richness to the themes. It is a reassuringly bold standpoint that she takes, Gretchen is after all a part of an industry that has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with young sexualised women and treats ageing as a taboo. Blackbirds is about real life and proves that there is huge amount to celebrate and value in the journey, yet she doesn’t skim over the fact that we are mortal and lose people on the way, or that not all the twists of fate are in our favour.
‘Blackbirds’ has hints of 70s American folk rock about it, whilst strings and a hint of blues give it a very broad canvas. It is a class act, and one that is excellent by her own high standards.