very nice Emmylou voice
shoulda been her album instead of that dud she put out
only problem with this, no change of pace, mellow throughout
makes the grade though, barely
Grade - 1.7
released May 17th, 2011
from the album - Oh Cumberland - 2.0
from all music
Before she became a recording artist in her own right, Matraca Berg was a professional songwriter with a strong industry pedigree: her mother was songwriter and session vocalist Icee Berg, who helped get her daughter started in the music business as a teenager thanks to her contacts at several music publishing companies. Berg scored her first success in 1983, teaming with Bobby Braddock to write "Faking Love," which became a number one hit for T.G. Sheppard and Karen Brooks. Berg subsequently spent two years as the keyboardist for the Kevin Stewart Band, then returned to her Nashville songwriting career. She would go on to contribute material to Suzy Bogguss, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Pam Tillis, Deana Carter, Martina McBride, and many others. Eventually, Berg began to toy with the idea of recording her own compositions, and issued her debut album, Lying to the Moon, on RCA in 1990. The album won numerous critical accolades for its musical eclecticism, thoughtful lyrics, and rootsy, acoustic sound.
However, it wasn't a blockbuster, and RCA tried to push Berg in a more contemporary, commercial direction -- so much so that they rejected her proposed follow-up album. Berg switched from the label's Nashville division over to the pop side, and many critics felt that the resulting albums, 1991's Bittersweet Surrender and 1993's The Speed of Grace, failed to replicate the strengths of Lying to the Moon. Finally frustrated with RCA's interference, Berg left to sign with the indie label Rising Tide; her first effort, 1997's Sunday Morning to Saturday Night, returned to the style of her debut with resounding creative success (as most critics agreed). Since then, Berg has continued her successful songwriting career, also finding work as a backup session singer; meanwhile, RCA reissued her debut with some bonus tracks as Lying to the Moon & Other Stories. Berg returned to recording in 2010 and cut The Dreaming Fields, on which she wrote or co-wrote every track. It was released by Dualtone in the spring of 2011.
Most people know Matraca Berg as an accomplished songwriter who's penned hits for Dusty Springffield, Linda Ronstadt, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Deanna Carter, Trisha Yearwood, and Gretchen Wilson and more. Fewer know her as a an unclassifiable but utterly classy singer songwriter and recording artist who issued a handful of of excellent but unclassifiable albums 1990 between 1997 on RCA and Rising Tide. The Dreaming Fields, issued on the reputable, established indie Dualtone, is Berg's first record in 14 years. She wrote or co-wrote everything here. It showcases all of her strengths--as a songwriter and as a vocalist. It was self-produced and recorded with a small group of friends, who understand the plaintive power in Berg's voice; they empathically underscore her lyrics with only what is necessary. It's so refreshing to hear guitars--acoustic, electric and pedal steel--and drums--sound like nothing but themselves. The sound here is somewhat reminiscent of Emmylou Harris's Pieces Of the Sky in its sonic footprint; its songs are poetrywith light and shadow in equal but uneasy balance. Check the lonesome shuffle in "If I Had Wings" with its lilting country gospel undertones and the depth of loneliness in the grain of Berg's voice. The heartbreak in the acoustically framed "You And Tequila," is the Nashville equivalent of Don Henley's, Bernie Leadon's and Glenn Frey's finest early moments (the comparison is made more poignant because Berg is writing about Hollywood). She evokes total surrender to the thing whichis greater than we are: poison love, but her protagonist will survive because she can walk away. The sultry minor key blues of "Your Husband's Cheatin' On Us," is a unique perpective on infidelity from the "other woman"'s point of view. The title track is a piano and cello driven ballad that suggests a modern paean akin to Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Aagain No More." (That as high a compliment as anyone can pay a 21st century song.) "Fall Again," is a searing, naked, love songmade all the mkore powerful because its protagonist is singing to an absent beloved. The late Lowell George would have been proud to sing and play on "Oh Cumberland." "South Of Heaven," is the finest anti-war song to come from the Afghanistan/Iraq war era because it refuses to preach. where Ultimately, the Dreaming Fields is a deeply moving, gloriously articulated album that should not only reawaken the interest of fans, but should win Berg a multitude of new ones.
1 If I Had Wings Alexander, Berg 4:20
2 You and Tequila Berg, Carter 4:07
3 Racing the Angels Berg, Bogguss, Peters 4:16
4 Silver and Glass Berg 3:59
5 Clouds Berg, Nicholson 4:03
6 The Dreaming Fields Berg, Harrison 4:29
7 Oh Cumberland Berg, Harrison 4:32
8 Your Husband's Cheating on Us Berg, Chapman, McCorkle 4:19
9 Fall Again Berg, Steenburgen 3:41
10 South of Heaven Berg, Vaughn, Verges 5:35
11 A Cold, Rainy Morning in London in June Berg, Harrison 4:18