Listen Up: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Gretchen Peters

Burnt Toast & Offerings
(Scarlet Letter Records)

By Tom Geddie

Burnt Toast & Offerings is a thematically pure collection of a dozen songs about yearning and waiting from Gretchen Peters, an accomplished songwriter who’s never gotten the recognition as a performer in her native United States that she has in England. Etta James, the Neville Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, Bryan Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, and Faith Hill are among the marquee names who have recorded her songs.
Peters’ fifth album — folk, blues, and pop, with touches of country and rockabilly — grew out of a midlife reassessment that followed a divorce from her husband-manager-booking-agent-producer. She apparently realized that, at this point, life begins to move faster and faster but doesn’t go on forever. The c.d. is a bit melancholy, but it’s a consistently fine listen, especially on a rainy day.
On “This Town,” she sings, “This town is a lot like me / Sadder and wiser than it used to be / A little sprawled out / A little rundown,” but it has its own sweet charms.
“The Way You Move Me,” a sensual song that describes her love for a man who left his fingerprints all over her, is the cathartic core of the whole album: “It’s something like grace the way you look at me/ Kinda like you see me in my finest hour.”
Peters’ lovely, plaintive voice fits these songs well, as does the music, based on guitars, mandolins, strings, percussion, bass, and keyboards.
Peters co-produced 11 of the 12 songs with Doug Lancio. She also covers the 1943 Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen hit “One for My Baby,” which she produced with Barry Walsh.
Not much happens on Burnt Toast & Offerings aside from realization and acknowledgement, although the promise or possibility of action is always here. Peters catches that part of the human condition well on this gentle, introspective disc.


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