Gretchen Peters is no stranger to the music scene. As a songwriter, she has composed hits for Martina McBride, Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Anne Murray, as well as for rock singers Neil Diamond and co-writing songs with Bryan Adams. She also won the Country Music Association Song Of The Year award for McBride’s “Independence Day” in 1995. vIn addition, Peters has released seven studio albums of her own. The title track of her 1996 debut album The Secret of Life was later recorded by Faith Hill in 1999, for whom it was a Top 5 country hit. This Grammy-nominated songwriter joined us for our 5GB series before her show tonight at Eddie’s Attic.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
My mom gave me and my big sister tickets to a Grateful Dead concert in Boulder, Colorado. I was 13. I don’t think she had any idea what went on at a Grateful Dead Concert, but it changed my life. It was an incredible scene.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
Our show in London this past March was right up there, maybe at the top. It was sold out, packed to the rafters, and the Hello Cruel World album was #1 on the UK country chart, so there was this incredible energy there. Sometimes audiences in the UK can be reserved, but this was one of the warmest, most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever played for. We felt like we could do no wrong. They were pin-drop quiet for the ballads, but at the end they wouldn’t let us leave. Two ear-splitting standing O’s – I wish they could all be like that!
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
Rickie Lee Jones on her very first tour. I saw her in Denver at the Rainbow Music Hall in 1979. It was utterly different than anything I’d seen before. Her sense of drama, from the lighting, to the pacing of the show, to her delivery of the songs themselves, was stunning. She was the bridge between two musical archetypes that I had previously seen as completely unconnected: the singer-songwriter and the jazz singer. I was strongly influenced by both, but until I discovered her I couldn’t reconcile them.
Gig you would most like to play?
The first thing that comes to mind is Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, which, sadly, won’t ever happen. That gig always seemed to me to be about the right things: the purity of the impulse to make music, the joy, the improvisation, the collaboration. All the things Levon embodied. I would have loved to have been there for one.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Leonard Cohen headlining. Me opening. It would be a huge honor to play my songs for his audience, and then be able to enjoy my post-show glass of wine while listening to the greatest living songwriter weave his spell!
Catch Gretchen Peters Today May 4 at Eddie’s Attic