To Say Goodbye

Album: Burnt Toast And Offerings (2007)
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  • The message in the mystery of this song is clear: we're not ready for this, but it has to happen. And fittingly, this song closes the CD that singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters calls her "divorce CD," written in the months preceding and during the end of her 23-year marriage.
  • Although obscure lyrics are a Gretchen Peters trademark, her songs are vivid, and she paints a story with every one. Even so, this particular song was, in her own words, "more obscure than normal for me."

    "Songs that I admire are obscure, and I always felt like it has eluded me. I always felt like I really have this urge to explain things, and make everything very clear in my writing." But not in this case. "I was intrigued by that. I'd no way of judging whether that would come off, or people would just kind of cock their heads and go 'what? What does that mean?' I left a lot more hanging in the ether with that lyric, I thought. And it was received really well, and I was so pleased by that, because it's encouraged me to go out on that limb a little more from time to time now, probably."

    "I have lived by the credo of 'paint me a picture with your words' for a long time. I listen to a lot of music - especially I have in the last four or five years - that's more obscure even than that. I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan during the whole time I was making this record. And I listened to a lot of other stuff where lyrically some of what's going on is just mysterious. And I've always admired that, and I've never been particularly facile at it. I think part of it is the natural influence on me. Where I believe in 'paint me the picture, don't tell me the story, but paint me the picture,' I've painted the picture with lots of details, and there's no mistaking exactly what's going on. Pick a song like 'Independence Day.' I mean, you know everything that happens there. And I just felt like this song was a little bit more elusive, and I was just so pleased that it came together and retained that elusiveness about it. There's something a little bit mystical about it. It's like no one in that song comes to any conclusions. It's just over. Nothing's tied up neatly, there's no conclusions, it's just over." (Check out our interview with Gretchen Peters. Her website is


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