Hello Cruel World
Gretchen Peters is country music royalty, having written material made famous by artists like Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and George Strait. Her earthy vocals and expert way with arrangements make her own recordings compelling listening. As the title implies, this is an album that searches the darkness. A close friend's suicide, along with other trials, have her looking life in the eye with a sense of pain and a need to somehow beautify the ugliness. Guests such as Kim Richey, Rodney Crowell, and Will Kimbrough inform her sound. "Life is still a beautiful disaster" she sings on "Dark Angel" with Crowell, while "Saint Francis," cowritten with Tom Russell, evokes a biblical sense. "Paradise Found" turns up the blues. David Henry's cello can be heard sawing through this and the title track with a foreboding sense. The piano ballad "Camille" (written by Peters, Matraca Berg, and Suzy Bogguss) takes an honest look at the disturbing truth that follows victims of sexual abuse. These are heady, uncompromising tunes delivered with no fanfare, just integrity.