Wine, Women and Plenty of Songs: Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss and Gretchen Peters Perform in Atlanta

Sam Gazdziak | February 26th, 2010

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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  1. Thomas
    February 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    …sam, that’s an almost spiritual piece of writing from your keyboard – you lucky heathen.

  2. Brody Vercher
    February 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Nice review. I’ve wanted to see this show for a while now, but I don’t imagine it’ll ever make its way to Texas. Fortunately they have a few videos on their MySpace page.

  3. Rick
    February 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I’d love to see a show configured like this, and especially if it featured Kim Richey, Angaleena Presley, Amy Dalley, and Angela Kaset so I’d get to hear songs I actually like…

  4. Patrick
    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    no way to order their EP????

  5. Sam G.
    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Unless there’s a link somewhere on the Myspace page in Brody’s comment, you might be out of luck. However, if you sign up for Gretchen Peters’ newsletter, you get a monthly free download, and February’s song is a live version of “Farther Along.” That’s at http://www.gretchenpeters.com.

  6. Bob
    February 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Great review. Haven’t seen WW&S but I hope to some day. I saw Suzy and Kathy Mattea with their husbands, Doug Crider and Jon Vezner, at the Bluebird Cafe last month. Suzy sounds as great as she did when I first heard her about 20 years ago. She’s still my all-time favorite female vocalist. Another tour of hers I would have liked to have seen was Berry, Bogguss and Dean (John Berry and Billy Dean) which occurred about 10 years ago. As far as Berg and Peters are concerned, they are still among the best songwriters around today.

  7. J.R. Journey
    February 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I regret not going to this tour when it stopped in Columbus, Ohio. Looks like the dates have all wound down now. Sounds like a night of truly great music. I wonder how long before mainstream artists are covering these ladies’ songs again, or at least recording material that’s on par?

  8. SamB
    March 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I saw them on tour in London in the middle of last year, and loved it exactly like you did. When I saw them it was in a church, which gave an extra, interesting facet to the whole thing

  9. ron mccarthy
    January 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    would appreciate if anyone could tell me if they have any cd’s or dvd’s out yet? thank you

    ron Mac

  10. Jon
    January 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    They’re taping a live DVD on February 24th.

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