When Gretchen Peters decided to write about her private upheaval of the last few years, she chose to record these songs herself. Calling on a small circle of close friends, including her new husband–but longtime bandmate–Barry Walsh, Peters crafted a dark but cathartic album. For listeners familiar with her previous albums, Peters’ voice explores the lower end of her register, hinting at the difference in this theme and what is to come in Hello Cruel World.
Most Americana fans know Rodney Crowell for his songwriting and performing, but to Peters and Walsh, he was also their marriage officiant, with a certificate straight off the Internet. Despite their familiarity with each other, Peters was a bit intimidated to work with Crowell on this record, and especially on the song that turned into their duet. Even noted songwriters like Peters can have professional idols and a little bit of fangirl-dom, too!
Country Fried Rock probably would not have been tapped into Peters’ album if she had not stopped by Couch By CouchWest 2012, a virtual music festival held each March. In this event, songwriters send exclusive videos of themselves performing from a couch–or elevator, sofabed, recliner–and music fans all over Twitter join in. This year, #CXCW went crazy when noted writers Ray Wylie Hubbard and Gretchen Peters, respectively, sent in videos. Thanks to a fun time on the Internet, we rediscovered a writer we may have overlooked.
Liner Notes: Gretchen Peters has extensive liner notes for Hello Cruel World on her website.
Gretchen Peters Hello Cruel World [Explicit]
Kim Richey Wreck Your Wheels
Daddy (Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack) For A Second Time
Mickey Newbury An American Trilogy
Bob Dylan and The Band The Basement Tapes
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The Whispering Pines find music that binds them together in thrift shops and flea markets, in the cardboard boxes of vinyl that spent decades in isolation and are once again coveted items. Bands like Cowboy and The Allman Brothers seeped into their ears, meshing with California-influenced psychedelic folk rock bands to create a new generation of songwriters like Neal Casal, Jonathan Wilson, and The Whispering Pines. The 1970’s bands permeate their influences and recording.
The Whispering Pines are not a “throw back” band, though, as their creative partners and good friends from the band Everest helped with ideas along the way, bringing the recordings from three different studios together into one cohesive album. Their self-titled second record should be hear in its entirety, like most records of the 1970’s. Its beauty is not in any one single, but in the songs together as a vibe and mood–West Coast easy, without getting too heady.
Their next record is already in the works, and given the growth of the band between these two releases, it should prove to be an even clearer reflection of The Whispering Pines and what they want from their records. As they develop their live performances and take their show to new audiences outside Southern California, their sound will emerge as one with a gentle groove that attracts fans.
If you like what you hear in this radio show, please support the bands by buying their music here (Amazon or iTunes):
- The Whispering Pines
- Everest Into the Grey
- The Who The Ultimate Collection
- Jonathan Wilson Gentle Spirit
- Cowboy Reach For The Sky