Silas House and Matraca Berg • Songwriter Session, 2019
Songwriter Sessions • 42m
Author Silas House reads excerpts from his novel “Southernmost” alongside songwriter Matraca Berg, who performs five original compositions, during a Songwriter Session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Together, they look at the portrayal of home through a Southern lens.
Berg opens the program, filmed June 15, 2019, with a performance of “Oh Cumberland,” alluding to the river that runs through her ancestral home in Kentucky and Nashville, where she grew up. Striving to choose songs that complement the imagery in House’s novel, she also sings “You Already Know” (written with Little Feather’s Liz Sharpe and Aaron Spraggs), “Arguing With Ghosts” (written with Gretchen Peters and Ben Glover), “Back When We Were Beautiful,” and “The Dreaming Fields.” In addition, Berg and House express admiration for Southern writer Lee Smith.
A Kentucky native, House explains that he relied on a playlist of songs, including some of Berg’s, to help him stay focused during the writing of “Southernmost.” After noting that it took him eight years to write that novel, he compliments Berg by saying, “I think you capture, to me, so much of the experience of being Appalachian and being Southern, in that you can never get rid of home. Even if you leave home physically, you never leave it spiritually. It’s always there with you. It’s in you and you carry it everywhere you go. You just do that so beautifully.”
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