I’ve never seen a promo video for any Gretchen Peters song and I’m very glad I’ve been spared. It’s really because, over the last 15 years or so, her songs have inveigled their way into my life without any added stimulus; so often I’ve seen them play out in my head and imagined where they might take place.
It started a few years back when the late great broadcaster Terry Wogan (a radio genius in case anyone thinks of him as TV light entertainer) would seamlessly drop Gretchen’s ‘When You Are Old‘ on a mid-week morning…oh for some of those radio days to come back.
It was probably ten years ago when the real force of Gretchen’s story telling really impacted. The Bluebird Cafe, a homesick Scotsman and ‘On A Bus To St Cloud’ is a pretty potent brew.
I was thinking of these songs again this week as I listened in the car to Dancing With The Beast, Gretchen’s current record. I love the element of mystery she always keeps in her stories. Who did she think she saw on that bus? What did that bumper sticker say in Lowlands? How did this woman end up terrified but still dancing with the beast? We, of course, understand the thread and the suggestion but we never fully know; and that’s what keeps us interested.
When the age of video first dawned there was a famous interview with Springsteen where he likened the art-form to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa. Thirty odd years later I think he, as is often the case, was spot on. Gretchen may have made a video or two (I really have no idea) but I doubt any of them will ever be required.
On this week’s Another Country you’ll understand a little more about the art of Gretchen Peters. A couple of months ago at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival I caught up with her to talk songs, #MeToo, Trump and all the elements going into her music. It was, as ever, a fascinating and revealing conversation which we’ll broadcast in full on this week’s show.
Elsewhere listen out for Dawn Landes featuring Bobby Bare and Bobby himself on glorious vinyl. We’ll have more from Mountain Man, a new track from Beer Jacket and an exciting new harmony group from Oklahoma called Annie Oakley. We’ll feature a lost song from Gene Clark and more from that Big Red Machine record we’ve been raving about.
Country Music? Yes…… our way. We’re live from five past nine this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can