Two nights of great music in Sparta, NC June 21 and 22, 2019

Friday | June 21, 2019 | 8pm

Matraca Berg

As one of the most recorded composers, Matraca has provided pivotal hits for traditional and progressive women ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood to Gretchen Wilson as well as Linda Ronstadt and Dusty Springfield. She has always been marked for her ability to not only evoke emotion in her melodies, but to provide windows into the truths, secrets and moments that people hide away. With her latest release, The Dreaming Fields, she not only evokes the seminal records she was raised on, she fearlessly looks towards life and tragic resolution of a battered woman (“If I Had Wings”), the devastating beauty fading into desperation (“Silver and Glass”), the haven that was the family farm sold off (the title track) or the anguished mother whose son has been sent off to war (“South of Heaven”). 


“I was raised on Harvest and Blue, Pieces of the Sky,” she says, “ That’s the sound of my childhood. When I started writing these songs, I pulled them out – and it struck me how bare they were and driven by feel. 

The songs floated on the arrangements, and the vocals were all the emotions the songs had come from. It’s so far from what we hear now, but everything I wanted this record to be.” She also wanted to explore the places within herself that she saw in other women – and shine a light on women many people never notice. In a classic postmodern Southern gothic tone, The Dreaming Fields is as honest a portrait as the writings of Dorothy Allison or her friend Lee Smith. “There are very few women I don’t see a part of myself in,” continues the woman raised on the fringe of Nashville’s Lost storytellers movement, “no matter what they do, their station of life. We as women share things; you tend to know each other, have recognition on a cellular level, which defies words. You don’t even have to talk about it, you just know… and that’s the glue that holds us together.” 

Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 8pm

Mary Gauthier

A New Orleans native who now resides in Nashville, Mary is a singer songwriter who the Associated Press named one of the best songwriters of her generation. Her sophomore release, Filth and Fire, was named “#1 Independent CD of the Year” by Jon Pareles of the New York Times. Her following three releases were listed in both the LA Times and New York Times top three releases of the year. Her record Mercy Now was listed in the “Top 5 Records of the Decade” by No Depression magazine. 


Mary’s songs have been recorded by dozens of artists including Jimmy Buffett, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Candi Staton and Mike Farris, and have been used extensively in Film and Television all over the world, including the ABC hit show NashvilleCase Histories on Masterpiece Theater, and Showtime’s Banshee. She tours the world constantly, performing an average of over 150 dates a year, and has often been called a writer’s writer, which thrills her to no end. 


Mary released her seventh studio album, Rifles & Rosary Beads, in January 2018, a collection of songs she wrote with veterans through the Songwriting with Soldiers program. The L.A. Times has said “You’ll be hard pressed to hear a more powerfully moving work than Rifles and Rosary Beads this year—or any other.”




June 21

Matraca Berg



June 22

Mary Gauthier

Backwoods Beat Music Festival is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors.