Gretchen Peters returns for Bluebird gigs at Zoom |

Gretchen Peters returns for Bluebird gigs at Zoom

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters, known for penning "Independence Day," which became Martina McBride’s Country Music Association Song of the Year in 1995, is coming back to the Bluebird Café concert series.

Peters, who first performed this joint venture between Sundance Resort and Zoom with fellow songwriters Matraca Berg and Marshall Chapman in 2006, is happy to be coming back to the West.

"It will be good to be out there in the beautiful scenery and relax," Peters told The Park Record during a phone interview from her home in Tennessee. "It’s great out there. I lived in Colorado for 17 years and I love coming back to that part of the country. I’m hoping it will be cool and not humid like Nashville. I love summer in the West. It’s so great."

Peters will be reunited with Berg and Chapman as well.

"I’m thrilled to do it again with Marshall and Matraca," Peters said. "We really had a wonderful time and had great crowds both nights the last time we were there.

"It was the first time I got to know Marshall," she said. "Since then, we’ve written a song together and have become friends,

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Then there’s Berg, Peters said.

"I’ve known Matraca forever," she said. "I just did a tour in the United Kingdom with her and got back a few days ago."

The trio will perform at Zoom on Thursday, July 7, at 6 p.m. Then they’ll head to the Sundance outdoor stage to play Friday, July 8 at 8 p.m.

Other performances in the series will include Leslie Satcher, James Slater and Tim Rushlow who will perform July 14 at Zoom and July 15 at Sundance, and Lori McKenna, Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin who is scheduled to play Zoom on July 21 and Sundance July 22.

Peters credits her older sister with helping her find good music.

"I was a folkie to begin with," she said. "I grew up in New York and had an older brother and two older sisters. One of my sisters was a big Bob Dylan fan and showed me the way. She steered me away from bubblegum pop and also showed me Joni Mitchell and the singer/songwriters of that time."

Peters’ parents were musicians and her father was also a non-fiction writer.

"I had the idea in my head that I could sort of make my own career up, so to speak, like my dad," Peters said. "I don’t think it was until I was in my teens that it dawned on me that I could write and play music for a living."

When Peters began her musical career, she didn’t think of herself as only a songwriter.

"I always imagined myself as a musician and a singer and a guitar player, and someone who wanted to make records and perform," she said. "I had guideposts like Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell while I was growing up, who not only wrote songs, but recorded and performed, which was how I saw myself.

"Even now, when someone asks what I like best about my job, I can’t give him or her a simple answer, because I love it all," she said. "It’s all part of a continuum. It’s about writing a good song, but it’s also about taking it on the road and watching it evolve every time you perform it. It’s also about learning something new about it every time you sing it, and finding yourself in that magic sandbox called the recording studio. It’s all part of the same thing for me."

During her career, Peters has written songs for George Strait ("Chill of an Early Fall"), Faith Hill ("The Secret of Life") and Etta James ("Love’s Been Rough on Me"), to name a few.

"While I’m not sure which of my songs was the first to play on the radio, I have vivid memories of hearing other songs I had written being played," she said. "Even for several years after I first hear a song being played, I remember being stunned and thrilled.

"It’s like an out-of-body experience, and those moments take me back to me being alone in my room writing those songs, and what a weird feeling to all of a sudden to have it broadcast over the years," she said. "It’s a strange and thrilling moment."

While she was on tour in England, Peters found she was nominated to be inducted in the National Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, located at the Grammy Awards Museum in Los Angeles.

"That is an absolute thrill," she said. "While getting awards was never my goal, to be nominated is a wonderful acknowledgement of my peers, and that means something. When I say it’s not the goal, I’m not belittling it. I just mean the goal has always putting my nose down and doing the work and doing the best work I can do."

Gretchen Peters, Matraca Berg and Marshall Chapman will open the Bluebird Café Concert Series at Zoom, 660 Main St., on Thursday, July 7, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $90 and include dinner. For more information, call Zoom at (435) 649-9108. The trio will then perform Friday, July 8, at 8 p.m. on the Eccles Stage at the Sundance Resort. General admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling (866) 734-4428 or visiting