The Dreaming Fields


In a perfect universe, Matraca Berg would be the Queen of Country Music. Blessed with a sparkling vocal instrument and an unerring knack for penning songs that pack a visceral wallop, the Nashville native nonetheless saw mainstream solo success elude her. The Dreaming Fields, her first album in 14 years, proves that her gifts have only sharpened to a stiletto point over time. Berg tells of a girl who longs to escape a violent household on the ethereal “If I Had Wings,” then tugs on the heartstrings with the majestic ballad “Racing the Angels.” Add a mother’s elegy at the graveside of her soldier son (“South of Heaven”), and The Dreaming Fields becomes one long series of shivers at Berg’s emotional and musical range. These 11 songs amount to a stunning Southern Gothic song cycle by one of Americana music’s most enduring and criminally overlooked talents. –Bob Cannon

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