Matraca Berg performs "Oh Cumberland," a tribute to the river that connects her family's native Appalachia to her hometown of Nashville. She is backed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Matraca had her first No. 1 record as a songwriter at age 18. That, in turn, has qualified her to become one of the youngest Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame nominees in history: To be eligible, a writer must have first achieved prominence at least 25 years ago. She was inducted in 2008.
That first hit was “Faking Love,” as sung by T.G. Sheppard and Karen Brooks. In the years since, Berg’s songs have practically become the soundtrack of contemporary Nashville. Reba McEntire’s “The Last One to Know” (1987), Patty Loveless’ “I’m That Kind of Girl”(1991), Trisha Yearwood’s “Wrong Side of Memphis” (1992), Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels “(1996), the Dixie Chicks’ “If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me” (2001) and more than 50 other recordings of her songs have made her one of the most recorded composers in Music City.
Matraca’s songs have been sung by Randy Travis, Faith Hill, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt, Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis, Keith Urban, Dusty Springfield, Clint Black, Loretta Lynn and dozens of others. Her co-written “Strawberry Wine,” as performed by Deana Carter, was named the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year in 1997. As if to top it all off, Gretchen Wilson’s recording of Matraca’s and Jim Collins’ “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today” received a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.
In addition, the songwriter issued three CDs in 1990-97, plus a 1999 compilation, that have brought her wide acclaim as a performer.
Matraca and fellow Nashville songwriter Marshall Chapman provided the songs for the theatrical production Good Ol’ Girls (based on the writings of Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle), which has been staged by regional repertory companies and recently made its Off-Broadway debut.
She is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album, South of Heaven, which she has called a record that is "absolutely, without a doubt, me."