Gretchen Peters “The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury” (Proper Records, 2020)

Inducted into the Nashville Hall of Fame just six years ago after a twenty-year career in music, Gretchen Peters is a singer-songwriter who has enjoyed writing for many notable country artists including Shania Twain, George Strait, and Trisha Yearwood. ‘The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury’ – a collection of covers – is her tenth solo album since her debut ‘A Secret Life’ was released in 1996.

The album was beautifully recorded in Nashville’s oldest studio, Cinderella Sound. It was here where guitarist Wayne Moss originally recorded Mickey Newbury’s ‘Frisco, Mabel, Joy’. Peters had Moss plays guest guitar on ‘The Night You Wrote That Song’ to keep the album as authentic as she could to Newbury’s sound.

Music history is no stranger to Mickey Newbury covers, with over 1500 versions of his songs recorded by others including Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Roy Orbison, Linda Rondstadt, B.B. King, and Vampire Weekend. Elvis Presley’s cover of Newbury’s ‘An American Trilogy’ and Kenny Rogers ‘Just Dropped in’  are considerably more popular than the originals.

Gretchen Peters’ covers are warm and honest, instrumentally pleasing and straightforward. Her voice has a greater tone and depth than Mickey Newbury’s and the calm way she presents the songs are with the clarity and study that only time can bring. It says a lot that she dived into a large, crowded pond and remains one of the bigger fish.

Mickey Newbury’s songs have timeless, universal lyrics which tell stories that most can relate to, and Peters has used them as an instrument for her easy-going style. The album showcases Peters as a singer and musician, and her skills that have uniquely adapted the songs. It is an accessible album that has made something timeless even more universal.

Accessible album that has made something timeless even more universal
7/10

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