The Secret of Life [Bonus Track]

The Secret of Life [Bonus Track]

by Gretchen PetersGretchen Peters


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The Secret of Life marked a new era for country songwriting maven Gretchen Peters. The woman who is most famous for having written Martina McBride's poignant breakthrough single "Independence Day" has also written hits for Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, and many others. But The Secret of Life marks her first serious attempt as a singer and performer as well. As expected, this independently released debut is loaded with great songs, and features a top-notch band that includes Dan Dugmore, Michael Severs, and Barry Walsh, to name a few, and guest appearances by friends Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle (with whom she duets on an excellent cover of his "I Ain't Never Satisfied"), Raul Malo, and James House. Peters opens the album with a reading of "Waiting for the Light to Turn Green," a co-write with Suzy Bogguss, and she delivers it convincingly. Her voice is a great surprise. She doesn't have a great range -- she is somewhere between alto and contralto -- but it hardly matters because she is such a convincing vocalist. The truth remains, though, that her guest stars take away some of the incredible poetic power of her own material and the listener has to remember that Peters' own readings of her tunes are the defining elements here. Green Daniel did a decent job on the production, and Peters never steps over her own lines -- which she did on later recordings to great effect. There is some tentativeness in her presentation that, again, takes just a bit away from such excellent material. The way she transfers emotion while singing compensates somewhat, and if anything, the songs come through as intimate statements, coffee-table confessions. Standout tracks include her version of "Independence Day" (a bonus track on the 2001 CD reissue), containing a kind of quiet power that sends shivers up and down the spine; the beautifully understated "I Was Looking for You," one of the great country love songs to come out of the 1990s; and the rollicking anthem "Room with a View." This is indeed an auspicious debut, and is merely a hint of what would take place on later records such as her self-titled follow-up and the absolutely stellar Burnt Toast & Offerings.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/24/2006
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0618321514320
catalogNumber: 5637315007
Rank: 158002

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gretchen Peters   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Background Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Background Vocals
James House   Background Vocals
John Wesley Ryles   Background Vocals
Brian Barnett   Percussion,Drums
Bruce Bouton   Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Steve Conn   Accordion
Dan Dugmore   Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Connie Ellisor   Conductor
Phil Kenzie   Soprano Saxophone
Chris Leuzinger   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Raul Malo   Background Vocals
Nashville String Machine   Strings
Dave Pomeroy   Bass
Michael Severs   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Harry Stinson   Background Vocals
Barry Walsh   Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Melodica
Tommy Wells   Drums
Billy Thomas   Background Vocals
Green Daniel   Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ

Technical Credits

Connie Ellisor   String Arrangements
Tom Hitchcock   Engineer
Steve Marcantonio   Engineer
Gary Paczosa   Engineer
Mike Psanos   Engineer
Green Daniel   Producer,Management

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