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Hello Cruel World – Gretchen Peters

januari 31st, 2012 at 16:00

Exceptional.

Gretchen Peters is still known as a singer-songwriter that is influenced by country, but there is not much that reminds you of that on her fifth solo CD. In the stately opener/title song she combines layered pop music with autobiographical lyrics.

In it she strikes a balance of her life in metaphors and despite everything the message is clear: there is no other escape route than straight ahead. It proves a characteristic overture for ten other songs that breathe melancholy and resilience.

In her narrative lyrics she pictures strong images: the lover of a matador that is addicted to danger, a woman waiting for her lover, the female partner of knife thrower, a waitress with more past that future and a child in the backseat of a car. They are damaged by life, but long for better despite everything, although it is not always within reach.

Peters summarizes her themes beautifully in closer Little World, in which she sings about a house with a walled garden: though that world is small, she and her lover are safe there.

Drummer John Gardner, bassist Victor Kraus, guitarist Wil Kimbrough, guitarist/producer Doug Lancio and keyboardist/newly-married husband Barry Walsh make Peters’ ballads and medium tempo songs musically impressive too: not only do they prove their technical prowess, but also their talent for leaving things out.

That way lyrics and music blend into a perfect unity, in which a violin and a cello that sometimes refer to Bobby Gentry’s Ode To Billy Jo also determine the atmosphere in an ominous way.

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