There’s nothing sweeter than live music, and when it’s as good as Grammy nominated Gretchen Peters, when she played to packed out theatre in Limavady last week, it’s heaven.
The Nashville singer-songwriter and writer of CMA Song of the Year ‘Independence Day’ was on a whirlwind UK and Ireland tour and stopped off at the swanky Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady last Wednesday to wow the audience for more than two hours.
Peters, whose written hits sung by big names such as Faith Hill and Martina McBride, treated the crowd to each track on her new album, ‘Hello Cruel World’ in its entirety, during the first half.
Peters has explained the album is the result of events in 2010, when she got married to her longtime pianist Barry Walsh, learned her son was transgender, lost a friend of 30 years to suicide and was afflicted by wider disasters both man-made and natural. What has been created is simply superb.
Some of the best songs include the opening song, the evocative Hello Cruel World; Woman On The Wheel, The Matador, and Five Minutes. All are beautifully written.
“The response to the record has been really amazing,” she told the ‘Journal’, prior to the gig. “Years ago we would play Belfast and maybe do Dublin but, a few years ago, we did a 10-day tour with Cara Dillon and we had such a good time we decided we needed to make sure we did more Northern Irish dates than just Belfast. We thought this is a place we need to come back to.”
Peters was delighted to be in Limavady, and says the smaller venues have audiences that are primed to listen to music.
“Having this record, which is looking like the most successful in my career, and having it come this far along into my career, I am much less likely to take it for granted and I’m more grounded about it and more appreciative of it. I’ve been around the block and I know what it’s like to struggle and I really fought this pigeon-holing as a song writer, and I always saw myself as a singer songwriter, so to have this come at this point there is no way I would take it for granted.”
Peters said she loved being in the “home of Danny Boy”, hailing Limavady’s Art Centre a “beautiful little place” and was struck by one concert goer who walked up to her after the intermission, telling her what she should sing. “I like that,” she said, in her dry wit.
Summing up Peters best, though, were two gentlemen this reviewer overheard chatting during the break.
“Boy, that girl can sing anything,” the man said to his friend.
“Jesus, she can,” he replied. “She’s powerful!”