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Grant Peeples' "Bad Wife" Jumps Gender Gap

Grant Peeples

Tallahassee singer-songwriter Grant Peeples very seldom covers other artists’ songs. But Peeples' latest collection is nothing BUT cover tunes, all written by women.

“I’ve heard it referred to as a ‘tribute album,’ but I think even more than that, it’s a ‘concept album.’ I think that’s a really good term for it.”

Grant Peeples has spent an artistic lifetime carefully crafting his own unique brand of music. So just the fact he’s produced an entire CD of other people’s material is concept enough. But Peeples has taken the concept to a whole new level by recording only songs written by women. Although he asserted women have always figured prominently in his music.

“Eleven (of my) records have been produced by women. And I’ve always had a lot of women singers and players on them. So it seems a little bit odd maybe at first sight that this is a record with all songs written by women and yet there’s not a woman imprinted on any of it.”

The title of Peeples’ new CD, “Bad Wife,” is also the title of the track written by Ali Holder. Other writers include Phoebe Blume, Eliza Gilkyson, Caroline Spence, Stephanie Lambring, Carry Elkin, Danya Kurtz, Alicia McGovern, Rebekah Pulley and Sarah Mac. Peeples adnutted he’d has his eye - or perhaps more accurately his ear - on these tunes for some time.

“Every now and then a song really gets out there and just really nails me. And I try to deconstruct it and the only way I can do that is to try and sing it myself. And so I’d been kind of collecting these and all of a sudden I looked down on the list and I said, ‘I’ll be damned; these are all written by women!’”

Despite the gender gap, Peeples said he wanted to stay true to the emotional and lyrical viewpoint of each writer.

“Not only learning the songs, but to be able to sing them without changing the pronoun. Such as when Carry Elkin says, ‘I need a man to touch,’ I actually sing that without changing the pronoun. So it was an experiment.”

All of the eleven tracks are a solid contribution to that successful experiment, said Peeples. Although each song has its own merits, he shared the song penned by Telisha Williams about her emotionally unavailable grandmother had particular resonance.

“She never really knew what her grandmother thought of her, but the refrain is, ‘I know she loved me; I don’t know why, I just know.’ She sensed that. It’s just the feeling of separation and of that longing. She was never held by her grandmother. Her grandmother never hugged her or held her hand. I don’t know. That one hit pretty hard.”

Peeples is going to throw a grand release party for “Bad Wife” in his Tallahassee hometown

. “It’s going to be on Valentine’s Day, February 14th at the Junction on South Monroe and my friend Mark Russell, the great violinist/fiddle player, is coming down from Boston to play here and we’ll go out and do a few dates around the state.”

As Peeples himself might say, “What a concept.”

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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