Nashville singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters has released her new album Dancing With The Beast. A collection of songs which give voice to powerful stories of personal struggle, loss, doubt and redemption, the record has already generated acclaim from publications such as Rolling Stone Country, Taste of Country, Digital Journal, and more. “I admire characters that are heroic in a very quiet, kind of stoic way,” says Peters. “They don’t do overtly heroic things, but just the act of persisting in a life for a long time to me is very heroic and very human… They’re persisting and in their persistence, there’s a heroism that may be quiet and easily overlooked. I find it really inspiring.”
Dancing with the Beast puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women, and intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing, Peters knew that 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 admits. “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 center. 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.
After moving to Nashville in the late 80’s, Peters quickly established herself as both a talented performer and in-demand songwriter, writing songs for Martina McBride, Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Anne Murray, Shania Twain, and Neil Diamond. She also collaborated with Bryan Adams on the soundtrack of Dreamworks’ animated movie, Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.
There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time — the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters’ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on Peters’ new album, Dancing With The Beast, combine to raise the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make upDancing With The Beast and, indeed, Peters’ entire discography.
Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, this is the ever-present tug of war that makes life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation’s most compelling singer/songwriter