Gretchen

Heavy Melodic Happy Gothic Chick Rock

Gretchen is Mia Richards (Vocals & Bass), Dave Richards (Guitar), Brandon Hensley (Drums)

Biography

Gretchen is a female fronted rock band featuring heavy guitar tones and emotional ethereal melodies. Originally from Tennessee, Gretchen has played shows in 28 US states and in Canada and currently have radio airplay in 70 cities in 25 different states.

Gretchen has shared the stage with Crossbreed, Ever Clear, Copper, Flyleaf, The Showdown, Thousand Foot Krutch, Disciple, Pillar, and Stryper just to name a few.

"In the Mean Time" was produced by three time Dove Award winner Travis Wyrick. Wyrick is highly acclaimed for his production with the bands P.O.D., PILLAR, DISCIPLE, Superchick and 10 years. Both of the first two singles "Fading" and "Passion" (from the CD "In the Mean Time") were top 20 hits on the National Radio and Records Christian Rock charts.

Gretchen was featured on the cover of Heaven's Metal Magazine Jan/Feb 2005

Gretchen was one of six finalist winners (out of 1000 entries) who competed in the 2005 IMWS Competition sponsored by Billboard Magazine.

Four songs from Gretchen's first CD "Mouth Full of Nails have also received national recognition. The song "Star" was used in a Ford Motor Company Ford Ranger promotion and 3 other songs have received an honorable mention in the 12th annual Billboard International Songwriting Contest (rock/alternative category).


Origins of the Name

Gretchen Goes To Nebraska - The name Gretchen means "pearl" according to Mr. Webster --- but for the members of the band Gretchen, the name has closer ties to their faith and influences. Gretchen derived their name from the album "Gretchen Goes To Nebraska" by King's X which was was based upon a short story by King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill.

Faust & The Gretchen Question - In Goethe's Faust I, Gretchen asks Faust "Do you believe in God?" In religious and philosphical circles "To ask The Gretchen Question" has come to mean a discussion or questioning of question someone's religious, moral, or political convictions. Read the passage here


Press and Reviews

Sounds like… the melodic goth pop/metal of Evanescence, as well as the hard-hitting modern rock of The Benjamin Gate and a louder version of Plumb… this band handles the music well while offering more forthright examples of their Christian beliefs. Christianity Today

As far as eclectic combinations of music genres go, Gretchen has the alternative scene virtually wrapped up. The viciously heavy guitar riffs and drumbeats are easily comparable with any number of heavy metal bands. The often-surreal vocals stretch from the obvious Gothic influence to more serene and even traditional female vocalist sounds. The combination is a hugely powerful and unique sound that is well deserved of the numerous accolades that Gretchen has already received.

It's truly refreshing to hear a rock band willing to try and change the mould of modern music. Being a girl fronted rock band immediately means the music media and potential fans alike listen for similarities to Evanescence and No Doubt, and while occasional similarities do undoubtedly exist Mia Richards has invented an entirely new style of her own. If the world had an ounce of justice then soon enough, girl fronted rock bands would be compared to Gretchen and, if they were, they would all fall short in terms of originality.

The latest album entitled "In The Mean Time" incorporates everything that is great about Gretchen and throws in Travis Wyrick as producer and Brad Noah of Disciple making a guest appearance on guitar. In a world where most bands are afraid to try anything new, Gretchen brings a breath of fresh air to the music scene. Whether you're a Christian or a regular rock fan you will find plenty to love about this band. IndieUpdate.com

I used to have a friend named Gretchen. (Dramatic pause…..) But this review is not about her. Rather, it's about a dynamic, high-energy, three-piece musical entity from Nashville, Tennessee. (Don't be frightened, this is not country music!) It's also about how they rock. And rock they do. Yes indeed.

In their own words, the band describes their sound as "positive, heavy-melodic, happy-gothic, chick-rock". Bands can come up with some really strange self-descriptions sometimes, but this one is pretty much on-target, specially the "heavy-melodic" part. Of immediate note to us female-vocal fans is the fine vocal instrument of Mia Richards, who is also the bass player (you expected someone named Gretchen? Silly you!). Whether half-shouting in high-strung fervor or softly crooning away during a tender moment, Mia's voice is a custom fit for the music; her singing is strong, smoothly melodic, and confidently emotional. Hers is a pretty much perfect voice and is a joy to listen to. Mia's husband, Dave Richards, handles the guitar department, and handles it well. His bold assault on the strings (he plays a 7-string guitar) is a defining element of the band's powerful energy. Rounding out the trio is Stephen Robinson banging on the drums and doing a fine job of it.

My own description goes something like this: start with a hard rock base, add an alternative rock edge, along with a slight punk attitude, and filter it through a catchy, melodic pop sensibility, and Gretchen is what you end up with. Such a mix of influences will inevitably touch off numerous associations for the listener For instance, one could be forgiven for mistaking the album's opening track, "Fading", for an Evanescence song. The similarity is strong (some would say eerie), and repeated at several points throughout these eleven songs. The second track, "Breathe", strikes me as a mixture of Lullacry and Veruca Salt. I have a feeling every listener will come up with different comparisons, so widely distributed are Gretchen's influences. One could probably mention a whole constellation of 90's alternative and hard rock bands and not be too far from the mark. Of course I don't mean to suggest that Gretchen is simply a patchwork of different bands' sounds. Far from it, in fact. They smoothly fuse their influences together into a seamless whole, and they definitely own their sound. One of Gretchen's stated goals is to create songs in which the music and the vocals each stand on their own without using the other as a crutch, and they succeed admirably at this. In Dave's words: "there is no compromise for melody", and he means it!

It should be noted that Gretchen are labeled -- and label themselves -- as a Christian band. Maybe that floats your boat, maybe it doesn't, but I assure you there's absolutely no sermonizing here. In fact I hear no overt religious references at all in any of the songs, and although you can interpret some of the songs in that light, there's nothing forcing you to do so. Most of the lyrics seem to deal with the same kinds of issues you hear about from other bands -- relationships, love, loss, betrayal, that sort of thing. That's not to say the band doesn't hold strong religious beliefs; their faith is quite evident in interviews when they are asked about it…

In the Mean Time has excellent production and quite a nice flow. While maintaining the same basic upbeat melodic focus throughout, there are enough style/pace changes to keep things fresh and interesting. You have your darker, goth-tinged tunes like "Fading" and the nicely-done title track. There are several straight-ahead rockers like "Breathe", "Passion", "Daisy Chain", and "Lie to Yourself" (one of my favorites). "Don't Wanna Be" comes close to punk territory. Then there are the more laid-back and introspective songs such as "Let It Go" and the pretty ballad "Every Moment". My favorite out of the whole bunch has to be "Know You", an almost doomy-sounding ballad (if that makes any sense) with sweet and touching lyrics.

It's rare to hear a band, and especially an American band, playing a heavy type of music that is so completely melodic and accessible and… to clumsily coin a word… sing-alongable. This music is definitely radio-friendly, and I don't mean that in the insulting sense of the term. I mean that this music has the potential to be enjoyed by a wide variety of music fans, with tastes ranging from pop to rock to metal. So I hope you'll give Gretchen a chance, and "in the mean time" I just may look up their two earlier releases. Sonic Cathedral

More Reviews »


  • AddThis Bookmark Button
  • AddThis Feed Button
  • Subscribe for text messagesMobile Alerts