Album – Burnt Toast and Offerings – Gretchen Peters

Posted by admin on November 17th, 2007

  • Band / Artist : Gretchen PetersmySpace
  • Genre : Acoustic / Folk / Country
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9.5 out of 10

I love finding new artists and bands. What is especially neat, is when I find them kind of by accident, as was the case with Gretchen Peters. I recently heard a track by Eva Cassidy, another amazing discovery, on the Coverville podcast and for some reason ended up at CD Baby. While not surprisingly, a search on Eva didn’t return any results, I did get a list of other artists I might like. I don’t know why, but Gretchen’s name stood out and I investigated a little further. I listened to a few of her tracks and while none of them jumped out at me, there was something about Gretchen’s voice that urged me to get a copy of the album in for review. Let me just say, I’m not a great fan of listening to music via web pages, as the quality often does not do justice and there is something very impersonal about the listening experience, but it usually gives me a good indication of whether I am going to like something. The tracks I listened to though, did not quite prepare me for the absolutely amazing experience the album turned out to be.

The album opens with “Ghost” a track that feels like a some kind of out of body experience, witnessing a life that once was. It has a wonderful atmospheric and melancholic feel to it, which really appeals to my tastes. For me though “Sunday Morning” stands out as just an amazing track. Starting with a very simple guitar melody, the vocals come in, and build up to some wonderful harmonies. This song reeled me in, hook line and sinker. I’d never really considered the genre of this album, until I heard this song. While it’s undeniable Gretchen’s voice has a lot of country influences, the album itself feels a lot more folky and relaxed. I actually listened to the CD for the first time in the car. My wife had gone into Timmy’s to pick me up a coffee, and I managed to listen to the first two tracks while she was away. I don’t know why, but when I saw her again, I missed her in a way I can’t explain. I know that probably sounds silly, since she’d only been gone 10 minutes, but those two tracks had really tapped into my emotional psyche.

“Jezebel” is an interesting song, that really showcases Gretchen’s vocals and reminds me a bit of Stevie Nicks. Unlike Nicks however, the harshness and is replaced by beauty and a softness that is at times almost heartbreaking. “Thirsty” really took a while to grow on me. While it’s still not my favorite track, it’s very much a rose, surrounded by roses of a slightly different colour. “England Blues” while very much a bluesy style song, has a very country flavour and is one that I gave more of a chance to, due to it’s subject matter, telling the tale of leaving Nashville for London, and not just for sightseeing. It’s a very simplistic, but enjoyable romp of a song.

While not wanting this review to spiral out of control, it’s ever apparent that this is one phenomenal album. It’s good to see that out of something heartbreaking, can materialize something amazing and beautiful. While I don’t wish Gretchen any more heartbreak, I’m hoping that she can at least draw a whole lot more out of her experiences, if this is a testament to what can be achieved.

Conclusion : A stunning album, that feels very personal and intimate. A tinge of sadness, melancholy and eternal hope for the future. Awesome.

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