While country-folk singer Gretchen Peters music is closer to folk and pop, the wistful banality and traditional ache at the songs core is pure country: Ive been searching for the promised land, but its just another neon come-on roadside stand, she sings on Souvenir, off her 2001 self-titled album. Peters first came to Nashville as a songwriter, scoring huge hits for Martina McBride (Independence Day) and Patty Loveless (You Dont Even Know Who I Am) before making her debut with 1996s The Secret of Life. Shes since backtracked from its polished pop to embrace a folkier sound with occasional baroque flourishes. Each subsequent album has showcased stronger arrangements, scaling back its overwrought moments. The advance culminates with last years Burnt Toast & Offerings, which, from show-stopping opener Ghost to smoldering The Way You Move Me, resonates with elegant simplicity. Shes celebrating the release of a Christmas album, Northern Lights.
Sun., Dec. 21, 8 p.m., 2008