By Alanna Nash
September 21, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

Lying to the Moon


Wrapped in an exotic hillbilly first name (pronounced Muh-TRAY-suh) that signals she’s a woman to be noticed, Matraca Berg saunters down the pike on her debut album, Lying to the Moon, looking like the belle of the newcomer’s ball. Unquestionably the first true country femme fatale of the ’90s, 26-year-old Berg easily strides the divide between songwriter and full-fledged performer, imbuing her material with surefooted intelligence and mesmerizing sensuality. Her songs’ protagonists struggle with strength of character and self-sufficiency, trying to maintain their integrity in the face of heartbreak and despair. From the jazzy adrenaline rush of ”I Got It Bad” to the exquisite ballad ”You Are the Storm,” Berg proves herself to be a songwriter of uncommon maturity, in both the natural hooks of her melodies and the poetry of her language. She also knows the value of small details, neatly describing the empty life of a beauty operator at Thelma’s Cut and Curl (”Alice in the Looking Glass”): ”One time she was married/But now she lives alone/But there’s a little ancient poodle/ Waiting there for her at home.” A+

Lying to the Moon

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