February 22, 2015

Concert #739 - Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson & Gretchen Peters at McCabe's Guitar Shop (February 21, 2015)

This was the final show of a short California tour named "Three Women and the Truth", conceived and carried out by three of America's finest female singer-songwriters: Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson & Gretchen Peters. I attended the 8 PM sold-out show. The late show (10 PM) was a bit short of a sellout.

Last night was my first time to see Gretchen Peters in concert. On the other hand, I had seen Mary and Eliza five and four times before, respectively.

Quite predictably, the stage had three chairs - Eliza sat in the middle, with Mary to her right. Each performer sang five songs, taking turns in the same order, starting with Gretchen and ending with Mary.

Gretchen's Songs
Hello Cruel World
When All You Got Is A Hammer
The Matador
Five Minutes

Eliza's Songs
The Red Rose And The Thorn
Eliza Jane
No Tomorrow

Mary's Songs
I Drink
Another Train
Last Of The Hobo Kings
How You Learn To Live Alone (co-written with Gretchen Peters)
Bullet Holes In The Sky (co-written with Jamie Trent)
Gretchen Peters at McCabe's
Eliza Gilkyson at McCabe's
Mary Gauthier at McCabe's

Eliza's offering included four numbers from "The Nocturne Diaries", her latest album. Likewise, Gretchen chose to sing songs from her most recent two albums, 2012's "Hello Cruel World" and the just-released "Blackbirds".

Eliza and Mary having a good time at McCabe's

Overall the show was thoroughly enjoyable, albeit short of perfection. Here are some of the positives:
  • Stellar songwriting, from beginning to end
  • Gretchen's voice and singing style were a huge hit with me. Her interpretation of "Hello Cruel World" and "When All You Got Is A Hammer" was something to behold
  • Mary's incredible delivery of "I Drink" and "Last Of The Hobo Kings"
  • Eliza's intense performance of "Flatline", a song from her "Hard Times In Babylon" album
  • The low-key support provided by Barry Walsh on accordion. Barry is Gretchen's husband and an accomplished musician in his own right.
  • The "Touchstone" sing-along, masterfully managed by Eliza, even though most people were unfamiliar with the song

And a few negatives:

  • The three ladies were in a talkative mood last night - with a little bit less talk, they could have squeezed in a few more songs
  • There was enough bad language for a couple of truck stops
  • There was no encore

Gretchen Peters at McCabe's
The end of the show
The final bow
The stage
Gretchen after the show
Ticket-holders lining up before the show

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