The Sound Cafe
Legendary Singer-Songwriter Gretchen Peters Announces What Will Be Her Final Ever Tour Of The UK
By Stevie Connor.
Legendary singer, songwriter and performer Gretchen Peters has announced what will be her final ever tour of the UK.
Over 25 years since she first set foot on British stages, the Nashville-via-New-York star will be returning for one last hurrah as she confirms a Farewell Tour across the country throughout May 2023.
Bowing out with a series of special appearances between 4th - 26th May, Peters will be touring some of the nation’s finest theatres, promising an evening of reflective conversation and a retrospective performance including deep cuts from across from her expansive songbook. Gretchen will also be touring with the support of longtime musical accomplice and *special guest* Kim Richey.
Opening-up about the special place the UK occupies in her heart and hinting at what audiences can expect from her upcoming farewell shows, Gretchen says:
“It’s really important to me to let UK fans know just how much their support has meant to me. I literally don’t think I’d have a touring career without them. They were always there for me, steadily growing in numbers year by year, even when I wasn’t touring or doing much in the US. And around the time Hello Cruel World and Blackbirds came out, things really amped up and our UK audience seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. I want to have the chance to express my gratitude to them directly; to say thank you for decades of support and love. I expect it to be emotional, to say the least.”
While set staples like “On A Bus To St. Cloud” and “Five Minutes” are highly likely to feature each night, Peters is hoping to devise a setlist that will cater to “everyone’s favourites”, including some older songs that Gretchen and her band may not have played in recent years.
Since her first UK show back in 1997, Gretchen alongside her band have become familiar faces at some of the UK’s best loved venues like The Cheese & Grain in Frome or The Royal Hall in Harrogate (a venue “so beautiful I almost cried when I walked in for soundcheck” says Gretchen), the Opera House in Buxton, to the Cadogan Hall in London; while becoming certified favourites at some of the nation’s most major festivals such as Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, and Celtic Connections along the way.
Reflecting on some of the band’s most stand-out moments this side of the Atlantic, Gretchen’s husband and longstanding musical partner, Barry Walsh in particular remembers unforgettable April Fool’s Day surprises at Leicester’s The Musician venue in 2001 to partying with The Pixies in Shepherds Bush Empire in 2004; special guest appearances from Bryan Adams (who rolled-in on a motorcycle to their Maidstone gig) and enchanting accompaniments from Elizabeth McGovern (at the Southbank Centre in 2013); airborne stools at a wild gig at Brighton’s Komedia, to that flying feeling that came with selling-out London’s Union Chapel for the first time; not to mention the visits to quaint Yorkshire book shops, the Tebay Services pit stops, or simply talking pop with “so many wonderful people at the merch table after every gig”; all of which have contributed to the band developing a special affinity with UK audiences.
Echoing Barry’s sentiments with her own moving memories of the people and places that have made them feel so welcome during their visits to the UK, Gretchen adds:
“I have so many visual memories of watching the UK fly by from the window of a tour van: fields of rapeseed in bloom, Durham in a fresh coat of snow, Stonehenge for the first, second, third, fourth times (still thrilling!), the stark, gorgeous mountains of Scotland, swans on the Thames in Reading, the pebbly beach at Brighton, the dizzying cliffs at Beachy Head. The impromptu fish & chips on the beach with the band after soundcheck in Bexhill-On-Sea. The birthdays we’ve celebrated while on the road. The crews at all the venues, some of whom are old friends by now. The fans lining up at the merch table to share their most personal and vulnerable stories because a song I sang had touched them deeply. The beloved and brilliant musicians we’ve shared the stage with: John Lester, Christine Bougie, Danny Thompson, Hags Haggerty, Ben Glover, and our current brothers-and-sisters-in-arms, Colm McClean, Conor McCreanor and Kim Richey. Our dear Rebecca Kemp, who has tour managed us through thick and thin for so many years. Through all of the times when we were bone-tired and homesick, these things and these people really sustained us. I will miss them all so much.”
Returning to some of these destinations one last time for what promise to be unmissable encore performances, the dates and venues for Gretchen Peters’ UK Farewell Tour are as follows.
TOUR DATES MAY 2023
4 - LYTHAM ST ANNES, Lowther Pavilion **
6 - LIVERPOOL, Philharmonic **
17 - BURY ST EDMUNDS, The Apex **
19 - BUXTON, Opera House **
20 - BIRMINGHAM, Town Hall **
21 - BEXHILL, De La Warr Pavilion **
24 - SWINDON, Wyvern Theatre **
25 - EXETER, Corn Exchange **
26 - LONDON - Cadogan Hall **
** w/ Kim Richey
Championed by beloved BBC Radio 2 presenters Terry Wogan and Bob Harris, the release of Gretchen Peters’ debut album ‘The Secret of Life’ sparked what has turned out to be an enduring relationship with her UK fans and an equally long-lived touring career in the UK.
Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014, Peters has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill. Her song “Independence Day”, recorded by Martina McBride, won a CMA Song of the Year award in 1995. She has been nominated for 2 Grammys (“Independence Day/Martina McBride, “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am”/Patty Loveless), a Golden Globe (“Here I Am”/Bryan Adams), and numerous other awards. "If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as 'On A Bus To St. Cloud,'" People Magazine wrote, "she has already earned herself a spot among country's upper echelon of contemporary composers.”
Her 2015 album, ‘Blackbirds’ was awarded International Album of the Year and Song of the Year by the UK Americana Association. In 2015, The Telegraph named her one of the greatest 60 female singer-songwriters of all time. In 2021 she was awarded The Poets Award by the Academy of Country Music.
Most recently Gretchen released a new live album ‘The Show: Live From The UK late last year’. Recorded while on tour in the UK in 2019 with audio plucked from three special performances in Bristol, Bury St Edmunds and Bexhill-on-Sea on that tour, the album features Gretchen and her band accompanied by the all-female Southern Fried String Quartet from Scotland. In May this year, Gretchen Peters will return to the UK for a farewell tour.