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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tenderness Unbound, 31 Jan 2012
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
My last encounter with Gretchen Peter's was with her 2009 recording with Tom
Russell 'One To The Heart, One To The Head', a delectable listening experience.
'Hello Cruel World' finds her alone again and on very fine form. Ms Peters
has the kind of world-weary voice which manages to combine both warmth and
pathos in equal measure. There are eleven new songs in the set some of which
stand among the best in her esteemed career. The album has an overall ambience
of melancholy and even when things get a tad more raucous, as they do on
'Woman On The Wheel', her predilection for minor keys never becomes morose.

There are some truly beautiful compositions on offer here. The tender 'Saint
Francis', co-written with Mr Russell, sports some gloriously restrained harmonies;
'Camille', delivers some jazzy late-night trumpet and painfully poignant lyrics ;
'Idlewild', a song which touches on both deeply personal and universal themes
and final track 'Little World', performed with heartrendingly focussed reverence.
The sublime 'Five Minutes', however, gets my vote for top track; the bruised candour
of its imagery and plaintive melody makes the very air stand still around it.

'Hello Cruel World' is yet another unimpeachable addition to Ms Peter's fine body of work.

Essential.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SONGWRITING FROM THE HEART, 11 Feb 2012
By 
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
Just prior to Christmas 2011, Bob Harris played a track from this new album by Gretchen Peters. I was struck by that track enough to look for the album, but had to wait until the end of Jan for it to be released. However that wait was well worthwhile. On the first few listens, I was a little unsure about the last four tracks, which are very much downbeat, but repeated listening to the lyrics has lifted them in my estimations. The overall package is simply superb. Gretchen Peters as it turns out is an accomplished songwriter. Her lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking and on a par with any of today's great songwriters such as Tom Russell or Mary Gauthier. The first seven tracks are just simply stunning, and as I have already indicated the last four are good but take a few listens to get under your skin. For me however the second song, Saint Francis (Co-written with Tom Russell) is the albums centre piece both lyrically and musically. Two of the songs had me thinking about where I had heard a similar melody and after a few listens they came to me. Song No5 puts me in mind of Ode To Billy-Jo and song No 6 is similar to one written by a local N Ireland singer songwriter by the name of Junior Johnston (The title escapes me at the moment).

I can only urge you to get your hands on this superb album. One reviewer has stated that this album is essential and I do have to agree with them. If your tastes are along the line of Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter or even Rosanne Cash I suspect you will like Gretchen Peters. Musically this is a folk / rock mix with a slight touch of country thrown in. She is touring Ireland in March of this year and I would suspect GB would be included. I have already got a ticket to go see her in Belfast. Another reviewer has indicated that she is great live, so I am looking forward to that.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Felicitations To The Pain, 5 Feb 2012
By 
Glenn "Omaha" (Devon England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
If mature self-reflection and classic American confession is to your taste, then this is an album of both, augmented by cover-to-cover musical confidence.

I had the pleasure of seeing Gretchen Peters playing live a few years ago and she is simply a great artist. This album is distinguished by the intelligence of the lyrics and the assured strength of Peters' vocal. On playing this recently the performances had a power to make me concentrate and hear rather than just listen. I hope that deceptively pat line carries the true weight of its simple but heartfelt message.

'The Matador' is heated in its storytelling with the haunting accordion and metaphor or real killing; 'Dark Angel' is enhanced with the accompaniment of Rodney Crowell and the hardly original but convincing oxymoron of the lyric 'and if there's no hereafter/oh and there is only here/life is still a beautiful disaster', and the Bobby Gentryesque string-infused southern blues of 'Paradise Found' is as sultry as a swamp. This album is highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work Of Art, 13 Feb 2012
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
It's possibly become a cliche to say that someone is at the height of their powers, but in this case it's entirely appropriate. Hello Cruel World is Gretchen Peter's masterpiece. It's introspective and deep, but balanced by beautiful imagery and stunning melodies.
I hesitate to pick a stand out track, because the whole album is superb. But Idlewild had the most amazing effect on me, on the first play of the album. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I had to fight back the tears. It's an incredibly powerful song that takes us from Gretchen as a girl in a car in a mixed up family, to the assassination of JFK, and to a swipe at American life. And its all done over a haunting melody that casts a strong emotional pull - simply an amazing song.
One of Gretchen's most famous songs is On A Bus To St Cloud. That's so powerful because of the images created as we imagine the bus trip, and with Hello Cruel World that's present in each of the eleven songs. Even when you think you've got a softer song in the last track - Little World - she throws in a lyrical surprise "two spoons in a kitchen drawer, two shadows move behind a darkened door, only a fool would wish for more"
I now have that lovely feeling you get, when you have an album that you will love forever.
Five stars of course - and the only negative is technical. Some of the tracks could have done with a closer microphone, and a slight backing off in the mix of the instruments. But even that can't spoil what is a perfect album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year 2012?, 4 April 2012
By 
F Arnold "sweet fa" (London England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
A bit early for the annual accolades, I know, but this is an album of such outstanding musicianship and lyricism that I would be surprised if another surpassed it this year. After the stunning One to the Head One to the Heart with Tom Russell, who really expected this masterpiece? But clearly the events of 2010 which so affected Gretchen Peters have provided a springboard for some of her most honest, personal and telling lyrics to date, not to mention the beautiful tunes she creates from some quite 'down' lyrics. Not easy to pick a highlight but, for me, Idlewild and Five Minutes had me almost in tears. An absolutely essential purchase. Stunning!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 27 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
This is the first Gretchen Peters album that I have bought. I therefore can't say how it compares with her other works, but I love this one from start to finish. The album is slow and melancholic in the main, with only a couple of slightly more upbeat numbers. Gretchen's sublime voice is just so full of feeling that it's difficult to believe and a total pleasure to listen to. The piano playing (Gretchen's husband, Barry Walsh)stands out also - nothing complicated but a perfect accompaniment to that voice. For me the stand out number is "Five minutes", closely followed by "Saint Francis". The former song is so laden with sadness, it's difficult to describe the emptiness and lingering grief felt by the character in the song. The effects of a broken relationship still being felt 20 years on. Any complaints? Not really. The trumpet in "Camille" sounds a little out of place to me, but that's it. Tune in and chill out to a lovely album!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST have album., 5 Mar 2012
By 
Steven Anderson "Steve" (Irvine, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
Having been a fan of Gretchen Peters for many years I couldn't wait to see what Hello Cruel World would be like and I'm glad to say it is fantastic. No wonder it was on the BBC Radio 2 B playlist for 6 weeks, an honour normally given to the likes of Sir Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen.

From the opening bars of the title song to the closing of Little World, Gretchen Peters has surpassed herself. I'm torn between 3 songs to pick my favourite- Hello Cruel World, Five Minutes and The Matador. Last week it was between Camille, Idlewilde and Dark Angel featuring Rodney Crowell. I suppose the easiest way to put it is the WHOLE album is my favourite.

What I will say is you should buy this album, put it on repeat and let the wonders take you away. A true Masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Album., 25 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
A masterpiece from Ms Peters. Very quiet and relaxing album. Pour a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy this great music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album yet., 15 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
I have some of her older albums, but this is far superior in many ways. Musically and lyrically, with great production values. Check out "Saint Frances", "Matador" and her cover of Tom .Russells' "Guadalupe", Excellent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It'll grow on you., 11 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hello Cruel World (MP3 Download)
I've discovered that Gretchen Peters is one of those artistes who creep into your listening moments. Its always best when songs grow on you each time you listen (yes?) and this album will do just that. Not her best perhaps but one you'll definitely enjoy if you
give it time to grow.
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