The Essential Gretchen Peters

Read our review of The Essential Gretchen Peters

Gretchen Peters

Two CD Retrospective

Released 29 January 2015


I am generally not a big fan of ‘best ofs’ or ‘greatest hits’ collections.  Too often in the past I have been disappointed with them – either the original masters are not up to today’s hi-fi standards, the ‘hits’ you’ve heard too often, some dubious covers or alternate takes have been included, the result is a spotty collection that seemed to be born out of the need to fulfill a contractual obligation.

This one is a lot different.

On The Essential Gretchen Peters (Proper\Planet)this Nashville-based singer/songwriter combines career-defining tracks with rare out-takes, demos, and B-sides to provide a two-disc snapshot of her journey as a impressive and creative talent.


gretchen peters essential CD


The collection spans twenty seven songs and two discs and includes tracks from most of her ten or so studio albums.  There is a healthy percentage from her two recent releases, Hello Cruel World (2012) and 2015’s Blackbirds (read my review of the latter which featured in my best albums of 2015), which indicates that she remains in top form after over twenty years recording.

There’s plenty of interesting inclusions here, such as a previously unreleased duet with Bryan Adams “When You Love Someone” (listen hereand a new recording of “On A Bus To St. Cloud” which was originally recorded by Trisha Yearwood.

There is a wonderful rendition of “The Cruel Mother, which had only appeared before as a bonus track on Blackbirds.  A couple of songs do feature twice with the work-tape takes of “Blackbirds” (featuring its co-writer Ben Glover) and the sublimely sad “Five Minutes”.  Also featured are two covers – John Lennon‘s “Love” and the standard “When You Wish Upon A Star”.  (Perhaps the latter could have been left out, but I might be nit-picking and it does really present her voice to great effect).

I got seriously interested in Gretchen Peters very late, in fact with her recent release Blackbirds and I will be trawling through the back catalogue to catch up.  The Essential Gretchen Peters is an ideal starting point for a discerning listener to this very captivating artist.



Gretchen Peters – Nashville’s Americana Festival 2015 – photo Jim Jacob


Peters first arrived in Nashville in 1987 and quickly established herself as a songwriting force to be reckoned with and tracks recorded by some of the biggest names in country music.  She landed her first #1 with George Strait’s rendition of her “Chill Of An Early Fall”,  garnered her first GRAMMY nomination and CMA Song of the Year win with Martina McBride’s recording of “Independence Day” and penned hits for Patty Loveless, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy LaFave, and Etta James.

She has been inducted into The Nashville Songwriters’ Hall Of Fame.


The Essential Gretchen Peters Track listing

Disc One

1. Blackbirds
2. The Aviator’s Song
3. The Secret of Life
4. If Heaven
5. When All You Got Is A Hammer
6. On A Bus To St. Cloud (previously unreleased)
7. The Matador
8. Sunday Morning (Up And Down My Street)
9. Guadalupe (with Tom Russell)
10. Hello Cruel World
11. When You Love Someone (with Bryan Adams) (previously unreleased)
12. Five Minutes
13. When You Are Old

Disc Two

1. The Way You Move Me
2. Ring Around The Moon (previously unreleased)
3. Pretty Things
4. The Cruel Mother
5. Woman On The Wheel (recorded live at The Rutledge, Nashville, TN, 2012)
6. When You Wish Upon A Star
7. I Saw Your Light
8. Love
9. The Chill Of An Early Fall
10. Independence Day (acoustic version)
11. Wild Horses
12. The Answer
13. Blackbirds (duet with Ben Glover
14. Five Minutes


Via Thrillhill Music

Read our review of The Essential Gretchen Peters
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Author: Rob Dickens

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