The Secret of LifeThe critically acclaimed 1996 debut album from the Nashville based singer-songwriter. It is an abiding passion for the song that fuels all facets of a career that has brought Peters to the Grammys twice as a songwriter, won her a CMA Song Of The Year award for the groundbreaking Independence Day, taken her on repeated sold-out tours across the UK and Ireland, and seen the release of five critically acclaimed albums. Critical acclaim for Peters" songs is nearly universal. In a review of her 2000 eponymous album, the Associated Press states, "This is not jukebox music - the stuff that exists to fill in the pauses in conversation. This IS the conversation". The daughter of an author/activist father and a mother whom Peters describes as a free spirit, she was raised in New York and Boulder, Colorado, but moved to Nashville in the late 80"s "when they were still signing people like Steve Earle and Nanci Griffith". Peters claims, "I never understood how the music business took people and broke them up into little pieces - the songwriter, the producer, the recording artist, the entertainer. I suppose I grew up with the idea that you made music from start to finish, and I never felt satisfied being one of the pieces". Rejecting the Nashville assembly-line model and eschewing what she laughingly calls "gratuitous co-writing";, she nevertheless accumulated enough accolades as a songwriter, for artists as wide-ranging as Martina McBride, Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Neil Diamond, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill, to earn her a recording contract in 1996. That resulted in her debut album, The Secret Of Life. As a performer, she began touring in the UK and Ireland soon after The Secret Of Life was released there and named by Mojo magazine as one of the year s best records. As she puts it, "There was an instant connection with UK audiences. They didn"t care that I didn t fit neatly into any particular category. They just loved the music". The Scotsman (UK) says of Peters live performances, "The first thing that strikes you about Peters is her voice. The vast array of singers she has written for obviously have their own appeal but it is hard to imagine how her own crystalline vocals could ever be bettered. Reminiscent of both Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, yet maintaining a jazzy edge that sets it apart". In 2004, her album Halcyon caught the ear of folk legend Tom Russell, and he invited her to sing on his next two projects, the groundbreaking Hotwalker (2005) and the incisive Love And Fear (2006), in which Peters teams with Russell on the searing duet Ash Wednesday, introducing her to a whole new audience of folk fans in the USA and Canada. After signing with Russell"s US booking agent, in 2006 Peters went in to the studio to record Burnt Toast And Offerings with Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, The Greencards) coproducing. It was released in August of 2007, and Peters is currently touring the album on both sides of the Atlantic. Gretchen"s holiday album, Northern Lights, will be released on October 21, 2008.