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Gretchen Peters: Blackbirds

Country Music Hall Of Famer embraces life’s dark side.

Pictured on the sleeve wearing a serpent-winged chiffon creation even Stevie Nicks might dismiss as a bit too witchy, Blackbirds pitches the acclaimed Nashville songwriter as an exponent of brooding country-noir.

Deftly executed with backing from some leading American roots music players (Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave) the album treads a line between dusty 70s folk and slick country.

It’s a road previously travelled by Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams and Peters assuredly navigates her tales of death, ageing and dusty landscapes.

Sadly, although it promises much – the title track’s opening guitar fuzz temporarily fizzes with Crazy Horse-style electricity and the atmospheric The Cure For The Pain beautifully bookends the album – Blackbirds fails to take off and truly convince. A case of more darkness required./o:p