Wine, Women and Plenty of Songs: Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss and Gretchen Peters Perform in Atlanta
Longtime friends Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg are talented artists and songwriters in their own right, and a chance to see any of them in a solo concert is well worth it. Together, the trio has made several successful tours, primarily in the UK, billed as a night of “Wine, Women and Song.” While they’re not touring together as much in 2010, they stopped by Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia on Wednesday night, and the audience took the “wine” part of the show extremely literally. A whopping six bottles were provided them, courtesy of grateful fans.
Peters led off the evening with the beautiful “Tomorrow Morning,” followed by Bogguss’ “Aces” and Berg’s “Wrong Side of Memphis,” a hit for Trisha Yearwood. That set the tone for the evening as the three took turns at performing one of their songs, with the other two providing harmony vocals. And what gorgeous harmonies they were; it’s a shame that the only recording the three have done together is a six-song EP that’s almost out of stock–if it didn’t sell out after the show.
Bogguss played several of her hits, giving thanks to Nanci Griffith and Lowell George for “Outbound Plane” and “Heartache,” respectively. Peters sang her award-winning “Independence Day” as well as her own songs, such as “Breakfast At Our House,” taken from her “divorce album.” Maybe Peters’ next effort will be a honeymoon album, as she mentioned she’s getting married in October. Berg showed the full range of her songwriting abilities, going from “Your Husband’s Cheating On Us” (dedicated to Tiger Woods) one moment and then performing an emotional version of the autobiographical “Strawberry Wine” the next.
As you’d expect in an informal setting, there were plenty of jokes and asides that got thrown around in between songs. Bogguss has a large collection of truly awful jokes, Berg can break out Monty Python lines at opportune moments, and Peters jokingly called herself “The Original Gretchen” after relating a story of how a well-meaning Irish DJ asked her about “Redneck Woman” during a live interview.
At some point between their opening songs and the closing one-two punch of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and the traditional “Farther Along,” it stopped being a concert. Thanks to the intimate atmosphere that Eddie’s Attic provides, it turned into three friends swapping songs on a living room couch, sharing laughs and tears and refilling wine glasses. The fact that some of Berg’s family came to town just for the event made it even more of an informal gathering.
The show was also a great reminder of how great country music used to sound when Bogguss was on the radio and Peters and Berg were winning “Song of the Year” awards. No, the ’90s weren’t perfect, and we’d all probably rather forget the whole line-dancing, extended dance mix craze and the endless parade of Garth Brooks clones that got foisted onto an unsuspecting audience. But songs like Bogguss’ “Letting Go,” Peters’ “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” and Berg’s “Lying To The Moon” make so many of today’s hit country songs seem bland and dumbed down by comparison. Be that as it may, a couple hours of great music, mixed in with a glass or two of good wine, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
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