The echo of cricket chirps resounded through the Sundance amphitheater, welcoming and reminding Matraca Berg, country singer and songwriter of home.
Berg and her fellow songwriters, Gretchen Peters and Marshall Chapman took the stage to perform well-known, and lesser-known country songs they and some dear friends had written through the years, as part of Sundance’s adaptation of Nashville’s Blue Bird Cafe.
Sitting under the stars, nestled in the mountains, the crickets had their fair share of competition, as the guitars rang out and the melodious voices filled the summer air.
The Cafe’s purpose is to offer listeners the opportunity to hear songwriters perform their creations and discuss their creative process.
“Sometimes you write the songs and sometimes the songs write you,” Chapman said, as she began to play a song written about her last performance with friend, Tim Krekel, who recently passed away.
Peters described how the three rarely had their songs picked up by male country artists, and became determined to writer the perfect “guys song.” After long hours of work, the song was finished, and none other than Faith Hill ended up recording, “The Secret of Life.”
Songs about summer love, strawberry wine, grandpa’s farm and a “little rock ‘n’ roller, provided a small window into the lives of these country artists, as they wove in bits of their life stories into their songs.
Chapman’s favorite song she wrote was “part autobiographical and part made up, so it would rhyme.”
The song was written haphazardly on an airline napkin, as Chapman sat down to take a nap on a flight home, but couldn’t sleep when the lyrics came rushing out.
“Writing songs is like being 10 centimeters dilated, if you’re a woman with child, you deliver that naked baby as fast as you can, you don’t take a nap.” Chapman said.
The three received a standing ovation and obliged the eager crowd with one last song, in which Chapman reminded, “right now is the only moment we’ve got.”
The touring Blue Bird Cafe will have its final show at 8 p.m. on Friday July 22 at the Sundance amphitheater. The artists featured will be Lori McKenna, Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin.
Tickets are $25 per person.