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Gretchen Peters - The Essential (Proper)

Star rating: 
4

I often wonder for which audience 'Best Hits' compilations are aimed at. Those already identified as bone fide fans usually have all the back catalogue already at their disposal and if they would so desire such a musical career compacted into just two discs, their individual tastes would dictate which songs should be included and in precisely which order. The other purpose I imagine would be for the collection to serve as an introduction to the artist. Well THE ESSENTIAL GRETCHEN PETERS does just that and more. A generous 27 songs are included in this delightful retrospective, which features material from the full range of her highly prolific songwriting career, from early songs such The Secret of Life and The Aviators Song to bang-up-to-date recent songs such as When All You Got is a Hammer and Blackbirds, the title song from her current studio album. What sets this collection apart from Gretchen's previous 'Best Of' album CIRCUS GIRL is the material covered on the second disc, which continues with collectable material for Gretchen Peters completists, such as demos, b sides, outtakes, radio edits and collaborative recordings with the likes of Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss and Ben Glover. At this point we can consider a further purpose for the release and quite possibly the real purpose of this collection; the fact that it will make a fine souvenir for those lucky enough to catch the Nashville songstress on her forthcoming UK tour.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky